Kathleen Abernathy -(3) - Republican FCC Commissioner (approved May 2001); Douglas Adams- writer and broadcaster (deceased); George G. Beasley - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Beasley Broadcasting, US; Ralph Bernard - (2) - chief executive UK radio group GWR- to become executive chairman, July 2001; Tom Birdsey -(2) -Massachusetts, DJ(formerly of Rocko and Birdsey); Jim Bohannon - syndicated US talk host; Paul Brown - Chief Executive of the Commercial Radio Companies Association, UK; Harry Browne - writer on radio for the Irish Times; Bubba the Love Sponge - (2) - (Todd Clem) - Host on Clear Channel's WXTB-FM, Tampa, station; Candelario Cayona - Filipino radio commentator (murdered); Mike Copps -(3) -Bush nominee as Democratic FCC commissioner; Jon Culshaw - British mimic and radio prankster; Lewis W. Dickey Jr. - President and Chief Executive Officer, Cumulus Media, US; Paul Donovan -(3) - U.K. Sunday Times radio columnist; Howard Eskin - host, WIP-AM, Philadelphia; Chris Evans -(3)- British broadcaster and radio mogul; Robert Feder -(4) - Chicago Sun-Times media columnist; Prof. David Flint --(3) -chairman, Australian Broadcastng Authority; Gary Fries - President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau,US; Jon Gaunt - presenter for BBC Three Counties Radio and winner of 3 Sony Gold Awards, 2001; Michael Gordon-Smith- Australian Broadcasting Authority member; Peter Harvie -executive chairman Austereo; Paul Harvey -(2)- ABC network commentator/ most listened to "radio voice" in the US; Paul Harvey Jr - US radio writer/producer/host -son of Paul Harvey; Richard Hooper -chairman UK Radio Authority; Andrew Howard - Los Angeles host (with Karel Boley) of "Karel and Andrew" show (deceased); Richard Huntingford - chief-executive, Chrysalis Group, UK; David Isay - US radio documentary producer; Michael Jackson - Los Angeles talk host; Ron Jacobs -(2) - veteran US radio programme and host(involved in exchange with Clear Channel CEO Randy Michaels); Terry Jacobs -Chairman and CEO, Regent Communications, US; John Josephs -chairman, Forever Broadcasting, UK; William E. Kennard - former Chairman US Federal Communications Commission; Buzz Kilman - midday co-host WCKG,Chicago; Howard Kurtz - (2) -Washington Post media writer; Janet Lea - head of radio music, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Roger Lewis - head of Classic FM and a director of GWR, UK; Alfred C. Liggins III - president and chief executive, Radio1 Inc (US); Rush Limbaugh - Conservative US talk-show host; Malcolm Long - member Australian Broadcasting Authority; Kelvin MacKenzie -(3) -head of U.K. Wireless Group which owns TalkSport; David Mansfield -(2) - chief executive Capital Radio, UK; Kevin Martin -(3) - Bush nominee as Republican FCC Commissioner; Gerry McCarthy - UK Sunday Times writer on Irish Radio; Bob McCown - Toronto -The FAN - sports host; Donald McDonald - chairman Australian Broadcasting Corporation; Henry Meakin - chairman GWR group, UK(stepping down July 2001); Randy Michaels - (3) -Chairman and CEO, Clear Channel Communications; Robin Miller- Chief Executive, formerly chairman, EMAP, UK; Adrian Mills - Executive-director designate, CBC Radio, Canada; Erich "Mancow" Muller -(2) - U.S. '"shock-jock"; Michael O'Keeffe - chief executive Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC), Ireland; Robert F. Neil - President and Chief Executive Officer, Cox Radio, US; Susan Ness -Commissioner, US Federal Communications Commission(Departing by June 2001); Kenneth J. O'Keefe - President and Chief Operating Office of Clear Channel Communications (Retiring June 30, 2001); Steve Penk -(2)- UK Capital Radio host-joining Virgin Radio; Michael Powell - (6)-Chairman, US Federal Communications Commission; Doyle Rose -president of radio division of Emmis Communications, US; Harold W. Furchtgott-Roth -(3) - Commissioner, US Federal Communications Commission(Stepping down June 2001); Scott R. Royster - chief financial officer, Radio One Inc. US; Dr Laura Schlessinger- Conservative U.S. talk show host; Helen Shaw -director of radio, RTÉ (Ireland); Clea Simon- writer on radio for the Boston Globe/New York Times; Jeff Smulyan - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Emmis Communications, US; Wendy Snyder- midday co-host, WCKG,Chicago; Howard Stern - US shock jock; Tony Stoller - chief executive, UK Radio Authority; Chris Tarrant - UK Capital Radio breakfast show presenter & Sony Gold Award winner; Charles W Taylor - veteran US ABC News radio reporter and producer (deceased); Patrick Taylor -chief executive designate GWR, UK; "T-Man" Rob Tepper - Seattle talk host; Paul Thompson - chief executive, DMG, Australia; McHenry Tichenor Jr - President and Chief Executive Officer, Hispanic Broadcasting, US; Gloria Tristani -(2) Commissioner, US FCC; Bruce Williams - Syndicated US talk host; Terry Wogan - BBC Radio 2 presenter and Sony Gold Award winner; Storm Zbel - Boston radio host;
Numbers in brackets indicate the number of stories involving an individual mentioned more than once
May 2001 Archive
Prime Radio Stations
2001-05-20: Licence news this week ranges from the auction of a new FM licence for Brisbane in Australia that is expected to fetch around Aus$70-80 million to the issuing of more low power FM licences by the US Federal Communications Commission.
In Australia, as well as the Brisbane licence (RNW May 17), the Australian Broadcasting Authority has also awarded a new permanent community licence from July for Bacchus March in Victoria to the Bacchus March Community Radio.
It was the sole applicant and is already broadcasting under a temporary licence.
Canada has been fairly quiet, with licensing activity on the radio side including the approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) of a special events licence for a community FM in the Ottawa, Ontario - Hull, Quebec, region to broadcast "Radio Jeunesse 2001", from 24 June to 24 July 2001.
The CRTC has also approved additional transmitters for Silk Fm Broadcasting Ltd. to add a transmitter at Magna Bay to rebroadcast the output of CILK-FM Kelowna, British Colombia and for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to add a transmitter at Churchill to rebroadcast CBWK-FM Thompson, Manitoba.
In Ireland, the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) has launched an initiative in conjunction with Foras na Gaeilge (Bord na Gaeilge) to promote greater use of the Irish language in the country's independent radio sector.
In the UK, as well as licensing activities, the Radio Authority has published its annual report for 2000 (a 1.1Mb PDF file -see link to site below) and an election special version of its Quarterly Programming and Advertising review (612 kb PDF).
The annual report highlights the award during 2000 of 12 new digital multiplex licences to take the UK total issued up to 20 and of seven new local analogue licences to take the total in issue to 248.
The Authority also issued 464 short-term restricted services licences, its highest annual number yet.
During the year the Authority dealt with 537 complaints compared to 517 in 1999, upholding 148; in the first quarter of this year it has dealt with 118 complaints, upholding 20 of them.
Four concerning advertising and the remaining 17 concerning programming of which the greatest number upheld were 13 concerning taste and decency offences.
In March, the Authority issued ITN News Direct, the FM London news and information station, with a 'Yellow Card' warning the station that the Authority felt it was operating outside its remit with regard to technical quality, the use of picture-based scripts and a lack of emphasis on London-oriented stories.
This month it noted improvements in all three areas and withdrew the 'Yellow Card'.
On the licensing side, the Authority has received only one application for the Bournemouth digital multiplex licence; on the analogue side it has re-advertised one licence, renewed one and put two more on its fast track procedure.
The licence being re-advertised is that for the Northampton AM licence where a rival bid was made to that of present licence holder Classic Gold Digital Ltd.
Re-awarded was that for 1458 Big-AM in Manchester which got automatic renewal because it provides a service on the local digital multiplex.
Being fast-tracked are the Gloucester AM and FM licences where only one declaration of intent to apply was received in each case.
These were from existing licence holders, Classic Gold Digital broadcasting as Classic Gold on AM, and Cotswold Broadcasting Group Ltd, which is owned by GWR and broadcasts as Severn Sound on FM.
The digital licence application for the Bournemouth area is from GWR subsidiary Now Digital Ltd.
It is offering seven commercial services in addition to carrying BBC Radio Solent.
The planned commercial services are:
*Contemporary hit radio --2CR FM (provider: Two Counties Radio Ltd.)
*Gold-Classic Gold (provider: Classic Gold Digital Ltd.)
*Adult contemporary - Wave 105 (provider: Wave 105.2 Ltd.)
*Rhythmic dance - The Fire (provider: Fire Media Ltd.-subject to confirmation)
*Rock -Provider: to be advertised
*Soul - The Rhythm (provider: Digital Programme Services Ltd.)
*Easy listening -Saga (provider: Saga Radio Group Ltd.)
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has posted a number of appointments on its web site; it has also seen new members proposed by President Bush (see RNW April 7) appear at Senate Commerce Committee nomination hearings.
All three sailed through and the nominations are expected to go to the full Senate next week.
FCC chairman William Powell got more of a grilling at the same hearings.
The FCC has also granted 10 more Low Power FM licences, to take the current total to 35, nearly half of which are to religious organisations.
The new stations are in California (1), Georgia (2), Indiana (1), Oklahoma (4), Rhode Island (1) and Utah (1).
The first 25 licences were granted last month (RNW April 26).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC Web site:
IRTC Web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2001-05-20: Los Angeles talk host Michael Jackson, described by the Los Angeles Times as an "L.A. radio institution" is now back on the city's airwaves following two re-formattings.
The first, of KRLA-AM in December last year to an all-sports format, put him off the air after some two years at the station.
Before that he'd been with KABC-AM for 32 years.
The second format change went his way as KLAC-AM last week moved into talk radio from a nostalgia pop format.
It's billing itself as a gentler alternative to sister talk station KFI-AM.
South African-born Jackson described his return as "almost overwhelming emotionally."
Jackson received offers from elsewhere in the US whilst he was off air but says there was no chance of his leaving.
"I invested my whole life in L.A., and there wasn't any chance of me leaving," he told the paper.
He also said that KABC made him an offer but it was an "insulting" one of a show at night.
"They wanted to bury me in the evening, and that didn't interest me in the least," he said.
The paper says Jackson's civility remains his trademark, contrasting with that of rivals, and Jackson said he thought that this would now be strength.
"I totally believe we're nearing the end of that combative trend," he said. "It's run its course, and I think people are once again searching for more civilized discourse."
Los Angeles Times report:
2001-05-20: The link with radio is a little tenuous but we couldn't help but notice a short report in the Chicago Tribune that gives a new angle on the business reaction to events.
The CBS news radio station in Michigan, reporting on the reaction to the delay in the execution of Timothy McVeigh said that motels and restaurants in Terre Haut, which had capacity reservations for the second week in May, would suffer severely from the delay.
The president of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce said he was very upset the attorney general had not consulted them when a new date for the execution had been set because the motels and restaurants were already committed during the second week in June.
Chicago Tribune report:
2001-05-19: Emmis' Chicago station WKQX-FM is giving out just the thing at its Jamboree concert today…thousands of pairs of earplugs bearing the station logo.
The station's morning shock-jock Erich "Mancow" Muller has reacted with disbelief according to Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times who quotes him as saying," ''This, to me, is something our enemies would give out with our logo on it."
"Don't they get the irony?''
However programme chief Dave Richards defended the plan, saying, ''Most radio and music industry people use earplugs to protect their hearing. "
" We thought they would be a nice gift to our listeners." "They are designed so you can still hear the music, but you won't sustain potential damage.''
Feder Sun-Times column:
2001-05-19: Vatican Radio is to move its medium-wave transmission centre out of Italy under a settlement of a dispute which at one time had Italy's then-Environment Minister Willer Bordon threatening to cut power to the complex at Santa Maria di Galeria near Rome (See RNW March 17).
Bordon has since resigned. (RNW May 5).
Under the agreement, the Italian government will finance the move and Vatican Radio said in a statement that it has contacted European centres to try and find a new site by the end of August.
Short-wave transmissions from the existing complex will continue but shorter antennas will be used to reduce emissions according to Italian state TV.
No statement was made as to whether a prosecution charging Vatican Radio's director and two other Vatican Officials with polluting the environment will be pressed or will now be dropped.
The Vatican says its emission levels are in accordance with international standards which are less strict than those of Italy and, according to the Italian Foreign Ministry, has asked Italy to ensure that no further housing is built in the area near the transmitter site, which was in a sparely populated area when first constructed.
Previous Vatican Radio:
2001-05-19: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has named Adrian Mills, currently head of its TV and Youth programming and also managing director of the CBC web site, as the new executive director of CBC Radio.
Mills, aged 42, will take over his new role at the start of August.
With radio, he will be responsible for "the architecture, content and long-term development" of CBC Radio One and Radio Two, both nationally and regionally.
CBC web site:
2001-05-18: UK Capital Radio has reported an 18% drop in group profits before tax from £22.2 million to £18.2 million for the first six months of this year compared to 2000.
It says that the slowdown in the UK advertising market means it is now forecasting overall profits for the full year will be a quarter down on the £41.3 million for 2000.
For April and May radio revenues were down 15% on last year and the group could give no clear guidance for the rest of the year.
Despite this the shares, which had dropped steeply in anticipation of the warning (RNW May 17) recovered by some 7.5% to close the day at £7.40 on Thursday compared to £6.90 on Wednesday.
Revenues were up 22% to £72.6 million, radio revenues up 10% to £64.9 million, because of acquisitions but on a like-for-like basis the increase plunged to only 2%.
Radio profit, the core of the group, fell 8% from £23 million to £18.5 million, interactive losses increased from £1.3 million to £1.9 million, and interest cost the group £3.3 million compared to a £100000 profit in 2000.
Within the radio figures, the company's established brands suffered a £2 million fall in profits to £21.9 million, development brands Xfm, Century & Beat lost £1.5 million more to make a total of £2.1 million and digital radio lost £1 million more to reach a total loss of £1.3 million.
Earnings per share were down from 20.9 pence to 16.1 pence.
The group, which spent £1.5 million on marketing in the period, reported a recorded 8 million listeners per week, up from 6.3 million and its share of UK commercial hours was up to 17% from 14%.
For Century, Beat and XFm total revenues were up 28%.
Chief Executive David Mansfield said that although the period had been difficult commercial radio had outperformed other broadcast media and he believed national advertisers would turn increasingly to radio.
Other UK radio stocks which had fallen yesterday also recovered some ground; Scottish Media Group (SMG) were up 3.2% to £2.10 and Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH) were up 2.3% to £11.00.
In the US, shares in both satellite radio companies rose in the wake of the news that Sirius is planning to increase its subscription charges (RNW May 17); both Sirius and XM were up around a further 8%on Thursday after jumps of nearly 20% and 10% respectively on Wednesday.
In its first quarter report, Sirius has just reported an increase in operating expenses from $26.8 million to $39.3 million as it gears up for its service launch.
Its net loss applicable to common shareholders went up from $43.8 million to $64.4 million; on a per share basis the loss fell from $1.35 to $1.34.
On the deals side in the US, Salem Communications has added yet another California station. It has agreed with Pacific Spanish Network to acquire KLNA-FM, Sacramento, for $8 million and has already signed a local marketing agreement to operate the station.
KLNA-FM will change from its current dance music format to Salem's contemporary Christian Music "The Fish" format which Salem already operates in, Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Previous Capital Radio:
Capital web site (links to 1.6Mb PDF Interim Results).
Salem web site:
Sirius web site:
XM web site:
2001-05-18: Radio Australia has now started to boost its transmissions to Asia with services going from its transmitters in Darwin.
The services in English and Indonesian are being transmitted from the transmitters of Christian Vision Australia at Cox Peninsular (See RNW Aug 8, 2000).
The transmissions complement programmes relayed on a number of local stations in Asia and its multilingual online service.
Donald McDonald, Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), said the new Darwin broadcasts would significantly boost the service that Radio Australia currently provides to Asian audiences.
"Since the beginning of this year, Radio Australia has been working to enhance its service to audiences in Asia," he said.
"We are now broadcasting to the region via transmission sites in Singapore, Taiwan and the northern Pacific, and the Darwin site completes this important jigsaw puzzle."
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Radio Australia:
Radio Australia web site:
2001-05-18: Irish state broadcaster RTÉ is to retain the maximum 28% shareholding it is permitted in its transmission and distribution division NETCO.
The division was set up after the Irish government decided to separate broadcasts and transmissions in the Republic.
NETCO will be obliged to provide services for new digital terrestrial stations as well as existing TV and radio customers including independent radio stations.
RTÉ thinks that as well as new radio and TV business it will be able to gain income by renting mast space and providing other services to telecommunications operators.
2001-05-17: The new commercial licence for Brisbane in Australia is to be auctioned on May 30.
The Australian Broadcasting Authority says it had received five applications for the licence by its deadline.
Keen competition is expected with estimates being that the licence will fetch between Aus$70-80 million.
Leading contender is DMG Group which is trying to build up its Australian network and which has spent some Aus$225 million on the licences alone for its new Sydney and Melbourne stations.
The Sydney station, Nova FM, went on air in March.
ABA web site
2001-05-17: More satellite radio developments in the US look like increasing the pressure on Sirius as competitor XM seemingly forges ahead.
XM's first satellite, "XM Rock" has now been formally handed over to XM by Boeing Satellite Systems and has begun broadcasting as part of preparations for XM's launch this summer.
Rock is now in its final geo-stationary orbit at 115 degrees West; sister satellite "Roll" is in orbit but still has to be moved to its geo-stationary position at 85 degrees West.
Meanwhile Sirius has noted in an SEC filing its plans to increase its monthly subscription of fee by $3 to $12.95.
If XM holds its price at the original $9.95 this will mean that it is likely to be both cheaper and also on air first, although XM has said it will have some commercials on its music channels whereas Sirius has said it will have none.
Sirius web site:
XM web site:
2001-05-17: Share prices on the slide in the UK and more deals in the US head the radio business file.
In the UK, Scottish Radio Holdings (SRH)shares dropped 16% to £10 after the company announced the results of its strategic review conducted together with its advisers, Goldman Sachs.
The review concluded that recent weakness and volatility in the UK stock market meant they and potential purchasers felt it unwise to continue take-over talks for the moment.
The company in its statement also took a dig at rivals Scottish Media Group (SMG).
It said "As part of this process, the Board has also sought further discussions with SMG (Scottish Media Group), following its acquisition of a 29.45% stake in the market at a price of up to 1,595p per share, to seek clarification of its intentions towards SRH."
"However, SMG has been unwilling to meet. The Board of SRH will continue to keep under review the options open to it in the light of any change in stock-market conditions, or change in SMG's position."
SMG has built up its stake in SRH to the maximum permitted without launching a full bid but under current UK regulations would have to sell off its television licences to do this.
SMG shares also fell by some 6% to 203.5 pence.
Shares in UK Capital Radio also fell, this time by 8% to £6.80 amidst rumours that the company is to issue another profits warning and analysts downgrades in advance of the company's release today of its half-yearly results.
Capital has already issued a profits warning in March this year (RNW March 23) when it said full year profits could drop by a tenth.
Analysts now suggest the fall could be double this, particularly noting that Capital has been more vulnerable to the drop in dot.com advertising since it gained most from the boom last year.
In addition latest audience figures showed that listening hours fell by around 5% compared to last year.
For London flagship station Capital-FM the fall was even more pronounced at nearly 14% and the defection to Virgin radio of DJ Steve Penk (RNW May 15)is expected to hit them even more in the short term at least.
In the US, Regent Communications and Christian-oriented Salem Communications have been involved in deals.
Regent has announced agreement with The Cromwell Group, Inc. affiliates for subsidiary Regent Broadcasting Inc to purchase six Peoria, Illinois, stations for $20 million.
The stations involved are WVEL (AM) / WGLO (FM) Pekin; WPPY (FM) Glasford; WRVP (FM) Eureka; WIXO (FM) Bartonville and WFYR (FM) Elmwood.
$14 million of the purchase will be in cash, the remainder in Regent stock; Regent has already started providing sales, marketing and programming services to the stations pursuant to a time brokerage agreement.
Regent has also announced completion of its acquisition of StarCom Inc for $5 million in cash(See RNW June 24, 2000).
The deal adds KLZZ-FM, KKSR-FM and KXSS-AM serving the St. Cloud, Minnesota market to Regent's existing stations in the market -- KMXK-FM and WWJO-FM and WJON-AM.
Salem is to spend $9 million to purchase KBZS-AM in Palo Alto, California from In Radio License, LLC and $735,000 to purchase WVBB-AM in Richmond, Virginia, from Cox Radio Inc.
Both stations are expected to provide a talk format.
Previous Capital Radio:
Previous Penk ;
Regent web site:
Salem web site:
Scottish Radio Holdings site:
2001-05-17: Infinity-owned WCKG-FM, Chicago, has apologised publicly for jokes about Mexicans that were aired on the Buzz Kilman/Wendy Snyder hosted midday comedy-talk show on May 4, just before the May 5 Mexican public holiday.
Callers to the show shared jokes based on ethnic stereotyping and Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times reports that this led to formal complaints from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Latino Council on the Media.
The groups wrote to the station," "It seems inconceivable that in this day, when great strides have been made in race relations between blacks and whites, that Latinos continue to be fair game for bastions of racists that still exist here and were given voice by your station"
"The damage done to Mexican Americans and other Latinos by Buzz Kilman's and Wendy Snyder's gross misjudgment cannot be overstated."
Snyder subsequently opened the show with a statement apologising for "any poor judgment we may have used in airing that segment (of the show)."
Kilman was absent from the show involved as his wife has just given birth to their first child.
Feder Sun-Times column:
2001-05-16: More news of US talk show hosts with Howard Stern and Dr Laura Schlessinger leading the pack, the former with his opening in Seattle and the latter because her show is to be moved to an 11PM start time by WABC-AM New York.
The show currently airs from 10 AM to noon but is not getting the desired ratings.
Dr Laura, whose show is syndicated by Premiere Networks, commented that her "traditional perspective on families and children is not as well-received in New York City as it is in other major markets."
In Seattle, Stern is being aired by Entercom's KISW-FM on weekdays from 3 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., live for the first three hours followed by a re-broadcast.
The Seattle Times says that "T-Man" Rob Tepper from KUBE 93-FM, considered to be Stern's main local competition, is to announce his own syndication deal with Premiere Networks.
The paper quoted him as saying they in a year he'd be in 25 cities.
Tepper also launched a pre-emptive verbal strike against Stern, telling the paper, "He's an old man. He's past his prime."
"He's lost his wife, he's lost his ratings, and now he's in the process of losing his dignity."
"He should have retired when he had a chance a few months ago."
Stern is syndicated by Westwood One which has just signed a three-year deal with another host, Jim Bohannon, who has two shows, a nightly three-hour "The Jim Bohannon Show" and one hour daily news magazine, "America in the Morning."
In Boston, Tom Birdsey, former co-host at Entercom's WAAF-FM, has now been named afternoon drive co-host with Storm Zbel on WFNX-FM.
The hiring follows a positive response to a recent guest appearance on Zbel's show (see RNW May 6).
At another Entercom Boston station, talk format WRKO-AM, WAAF's music director and midday host, John "Ozone" Osterlind, has been teamed up to co-host a new morning show with Peter Blute. It's due to debut on May 29.
And in the UK, significant changes are on the way for Chris Evans' morning show on Virgin Radio.
Three sidekicks are moving on, two -- Holly Samos and Dan McGrath -- leaving the company and the third John Ravell to get his own show on the station.
Replacing them are two current Virgin employees, Matt Pritchard and Louise Pepper.
Previous Dr Laura:
Previous Premiere Networks: Previous Stern:
Previous Westwood One:
2001-05-16: Three stations are in the final bidding for WJHU-FM, the John Hopkins University station according to the Baltimore Sun-Times.
They are a local group, Maryland Public Radio, headed by WJHU talk host Marc Steiner, WBUR-FM which is owned by Boston University, and American University's WAMU-FM, Washington, DC.
Maryland Public Television, which had shown interest in purchasing the station and had offered some $5 million, is not on the final list.
Its president Robert J. Shuman told the paper that the John Hopkins' evaluation "seems to feel that we lack the radio expertise we need to operate WJHU, irrespective of our 31 years as a broadcaster."
James T. McGill, Hopkins' senior vice president for finance and administration said that of the three final contenders, WAMU offered some possible synergies, WBUR was a "marvelously successful public radio station" and the local appeal of Steiner's Maryland Public Radio group had been combined with a serious financial proposal.
Baltimore Sun-Times report:
2001-05-16: Internet radio listening dropped by nearly six per cent in the week to May 13 according to Measurecast, whose Internet Radio Index, based on a 100 point at the start of the year, now stands at 130 compared to 138 the previous week.
Putting gloss on the figures, Measurecast says that 14 of last week's top 25 stations showed an increase in Total Time Spent listening (TTTSL) over the previous week, while eight broadcasters enjoyed an increase in their estimated audience size, or CUME(CP).
At the top of the company's rankings by TTSL there was jockeying for rank but no changes in contenders.
UK Virgin Radio, which has just announced that 2 million people have downloaded its proprietary free player, Radio Free Virgin, jumped up two places; it says that since it launched its record function on the player last month (See RNW April 7) use has gone up 20% and streams delivered by nearly 40%.
For the week to May 13, Measurecast's top five stations in the period ranked by TTSL were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets) were:
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 170,345 (159,976); CP 52,106 (46,411) - Position unchanged
2): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 61,671 (58,000 ); 9,371 CP (10, 303 ) - - previously 3rd.
3): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WKUndergroundradio TTSL 51669 (48,903) CP 15857 (13,548 ) - Previously 4th
4): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 48,991 (58,202 ); CP7,496 (8,472 )- Previously 2nd
5): Internet only Hot 100 TTSL 31135 (40,845); CP 13021 (6,136) -Position unchanged.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-05-15: UK Virgin Radio has hired DJ Steve Penk from Capital Radio to host its 4-7pm drive time slot in place of Nick Abbott.
Penk has been with Capital more than four years and in January moved from its weekday morning slot to host its weekend 8am to 12am weekend breakfast show.
He is best known for a 1988 prank when collaborator Jon Culshaw (Now in BBC's Dead Ringers - see RNW April 9) got through to British Prime Minister Tony Blair when pretending to be opposition leader William Hague.
Virgin says it is looking for another show for Abbot, who stands in for Chris Evans when the latter is away on holiday.
And in the US veteran talk host Bruce Williams is to leave Infinity-managed Westwood One. Affiliates have been told his last show will be on June 15 and there is speculation that Williams will join Las Vegas-based Talk America Radio Networks.
Previous Capital Radio:
Previous Westwood One:
2001-05-15: The US Federal Communications Commission has levied another "indecency" fine, this time of $16,800 on WCOM-FM in Puerto Rico for airing on its morning show in October 1999 what the FCC termed "graphic, patently offensive references to sexual activities or sexual organs."
WCOM was owned at the time by Chancellor Media, which means that Clear Channel now has to pay the fine which was reduced from $21000 on the basis that this was a first offence.
Previous Clear Channel:
2001-05-15: XM Satellite radio has announced that Quincy Jones has officially joined the XM Satellite Radio Artists Family.
His activities for XM will include hosting several multi- part musical documentaries in which he will use real-life experiences to weave a history of contemporary music.
He will also act as a creative consultant.
On the share price front XM has been boosted considerably following the successful launch of its second satellite (RNW May 10).
It is now above $12 a share, more than three times its low of $3.87 earlier this year but only a quarter of its high last year of just under $47.
Sirius has also bounced back but by rather less; its shares are now around $13, up from a low of just over six dollars and a high last year of $60.
Sirius web site:
XM web site:
2001-05-15: UK TalkSport has officially complained to Britain's Office of Fair Trading about what it says is BBC abuse of the Corporation's market position in its purchase of "bundled" radio and television rights to the England v Greece Soccer World Cup qualifying contest.
TalkSport Chief Executive Kelvin MacKenzie said the BBC had made it a condition that the European Broadcasting Union gave it exclusive rights and spoke of being "cut out of the bidding by the BBC's dirty tricks department."
Last year, the BBC took TalkSport to court last year over its broadcast from an Amsterdam hotel room of commentary based on watching a TV broadcast as if it were live on Euro 2000 soccer to which the BBC held radio rights. (See RNW June 14, 2000).
It says how they sell their rights it is a matter for rights' holders.
2001-05-14: We couldn't resist the temptation today to start with a comment from UK Sunday Times stalwart Paul Donovan in his weekly radio column.
Commenting on a time when he stood in for two weeks on the BBC Radio 2 show The Arts Programme he says that it taught him two things, one about himself and the other about presenter Sheridan Morley who has hosted the show for 11 years.
"First, I could not broadcast to save my life. Second, Morley is worth every penny of whatever it is they pay him."
What more could a broadcaster want from a critic?
The Arts Show celebrates its 1000th edition on Friday at 21:30 GMT- (link to web site below).
As usual, however, there is a little more to Donovan's column.
In this case he raisesa point one applicable to broadcasters in general - the reaction of stars to hostile comment.
Morley, who is also a theatre critic, says his main fear was "that we would lose the guests I had insulted in print. I underestimated their need to sell shows, films and books."
"That," writes Donovan, " is a brutally honest assessment of the way these programmes can, and do, serve publicists."
"But they can, and do, serve listeners as well, by entertaining, informing, educating, reporting and assessing. "
He then notes that from three editions a week the show has now been cut back to one and doesn't get to cover as much and also that it has in effect been marginalized through its time slot late on a Friday evening.
Writing in the Irish Times, Harry Browne, also comments on programmes being pushed to the margins, in this case in a column on radio documentaries in Ireland.
"Radio documentaries here, " he writes, " haven't been so much trashy as personal; or arty; or historical; or atmospheric; or evocative; or all of the above."
"And while these tendencies suggest the radio documentary is seen as increasingly marginal in terms of reaching a large audience, much of the work has been memorable and some of it genuinely superb."
Browne then comments on a number of programmes he considers praiseworthy both from state broadcaster RTÉ and the commercial sector.
Particular attention is given to a programme from South East radio in Wexford, Forgotten People, in which "producer/presenter Margaret Hawkins follows Patricia Quinn in her quest to unearth the true story of a long-dead great-aunt, Rose.
"A combination of oral history, eventually-discovered documentation and some educated surmise reveals a miserable tale of Ireland in the early 20th century, " comments Browne. "It seems Rose, a woman in her 30s, perhaps with an out-of-wedlock birth already behind her in 1907, was forced to marry by her family, literally pushed to the altar in floods of tears."
"It would be fair to say the marriage didn't exactly click: Rose may have refused to live with her new 'husband'; she certainly was committed first to the workhouse, then to the asylum (diagnosis: "melancholia")."
"On the bright side, her ordeal didn't last long: she was dead within months, probably of TB. (Some 17 per cent of Irish deaths at this time were caused by tuberculosis, we heard.)"
Taking a step over the Atlantic, priorities, as outlined in the heading on a Cincinnati Enquirer column by John Kiesewetter, seem to be rather different.
The piece is called "Talk radio: Voice of the combative man" and has a sub heading, "Entertaining or inflammatory, what really counts are ratings."
Kiesewetter then looks at Bill Cunningham's afternoon talk show on WLW-AM and sums up priorities quite neatly as follows.
"The whole show, as far as talk radio is concerned, is to entertain listeners through the best mix of sharp points of view."
"But year after year, talk radio has been accused of fomenting divisiveness, promoting stereotypes and being a destructive voice in the community."
"In response, talk radio says it's just a business that gives the audience what it wants."
"(Talk radio) can also inform, but my No. 1 job every day is to make the show entertaining," says Mike McConnell, WLW's morning talk host.
Kiesewetter continues by saying that in the past two decades, "talk radio has shifted from subdued discussion of public affairs to a raucous exchange of opinions and feelings."
"Critics would say far worse, that talk radio has become an irresponsible barrage of exaggeration, veiled threats and half-truths shrewdly manipulated by hosts."
Later Kiesewetter writes that talk radio fans say "It's just entertainment.", entertainment which he says comes in various forms "from Mr. McConnell's good-natured banter with callers, to Mr. Cunningham's World Wrestling Federation-style verbal theatrics, to J.R. Gach calling Japanese "yellow monkeys" (which cost him his WLW job in February)."
"Talk radio's critics, however, worry about its corrosive effect. They say talk radio's extreme emotions and cavalier attitude toward facts can present a distorted view of public opinion and promote divisiveness."
One critic is Judge Nathaniel R. Jones of the Cincinnati-based U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals who says the "just entertainment" defence is "a disingenuous and dishonest rationalization."
Jones, a former NAACP(National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) lawyer, adds that his many years of civil rights struggles makes him particularly sensitive to the misinformation and slurs he says are the fabric of many talk radio shows.
"There are people who believe what they hear," he says, "and they form judgments and make decisions based upon what they hear."
Pat Barry, 3-6 p.m. weekday host on WKRC-AM comments, "Some people don't get it. They believe all this stuff, and that's really scary."
"The vast majority of people -who don't call in - know it's entertainment."
Barry's view is in part backed up by comments made by Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, in his 1996 book, Hot Talk: All Talk All The Time.
Kurtz says talk radio has no interest in reason or moderation.
"Outlandish opinion-mongers on the left and right tend to drown out everyone else. Extremism in the pursuit of ratings is no vice."
Kiesewetter also points out that targeting to specific demographics has also had its influence, noting that in Cincinnati which was recently riven by rioting, only 6% of WLW-AM's audience is African-American, and only 11 per cent of the WDBZ-AM audience is white according to Arbitron.
He also notes that the 1987 repeal of the "fairness doctrine" requiring equal time for both sides of an issue and technological chance have shifted show finances as well as audiences.
The WLW Midday show in 1985 had an audience primarily of housewives talking about health, medical and lifestyle issues.
Now, partly thanks to mobile phones, males between 25 and 54 have taken over and can call from their cars. Lincoln Ware, 51, talk host and program director at WDBZ, one of the United States' few African-American talk stations, says as more men tuned in, women tuned out because they don't enjoy conflict as much.
BBC Radio 2 web site:
Irish Times - Browne:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
Cincinnati Enquirer - Kiesewetter:
2001-05-14: Plans announced in February by Radio Liberty for broadcasts to the north Caucasus including a Chechen language service have led to threats from the Russian government to close down the station's Moscow office.
The Russians see the plans as US attempts to stir up dissent in Chechnya where Russia has been waging a bitter war against separatist guerrillas.
The plans were announced announced following a Congressional mandate which was backed by such senior figures as senior figures in Congress such as Senator Jesse Helms, Republican chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee.
Radio Liberty insists the broadcasts will go ahead but if the Russians do take action they could stop broadcasts using Russian transmitters which would push Radio Liberty to use short-wave transmissions from elsewhere which would have a weaker signal and cost more.
During the Cold War, the then Soviet authorities, repeatedly jammed transmissions by US government funded Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.
Radio Liberty has already been in conflict with the Russian authorities over its cover of Chechnya.
Last year its reporter Andrei Babitsky disappeared for a while in Chechnya and there were fears that he was dead (See RNW Feb 5 2000) but eventually he turned up in neighbouring Dagestan (See RNW Feb 27, 2000)
Previous Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:
RFE announcement of North Caucasus service:
2001-05-13: Former BBC radio and TV writer and broadcaster Douglas Adams has died of a heart attack in Santa Barbara, California, aged 49.
Adams was best known for writing " The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'' which began life as a BBC radio series before spawning a TV version, and novel.
He began his career at the BBC after graduating from Cambridge University, England.
He said got the idea for the "Guide to the Galaxy" when hitchhiking around Europe in 1971 with a copy of A Hitchhiker's Guide to Europe, adding that he was lying in a field a little drunk when it occurred to him that somebody should write a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Adams has also been a regular broadcaster on science and technology.
Douglas Adams web site:
2001-05-13: Licence news this week is again mainly centred on smaller scale stations in Canada and the UK and in the US Commissioners Susan Ness and Harold Furchtgott-Roth, who are soon to leave the commission, used Thursday's Federal Communications Commission open meeting to say their goodbyes.
In Australia the Australian Broadcasting Authority has been inactive on the radio front but has published a paper on what it terms Cultural and Social Policy Objectives for Broadcasting in Converging Media Systems.
The paper is the result of a joint research project by the ABA and the Key Centre for Cultural and Media Policy; it looks at how the country may have to develop policies to achieve cultural and social ends as technology affects broadcasting, both radio and television.
In Quebec, Canada, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has approved
*a new 0.6 watt developmental French-language FM campus radio service at Sainte-Foy;
*a conversion of CJAN-AM in Asbestos to a 6000-watt French-language FM station broadcasting the same middle-of-the-road music format
*and an FM transmitter at Témiscaming for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to distribute the service of CHLM-FM Rouyn-Noranda.
In Niagara Falls, Ontario, it has published notice of an application for a frequency switch under which services currently broadcast by commercial station CJRN-FM will be switched to the frequency used by non-commercial tourist information station CLZ-FM and vice-versa.
Finally the CRTC has published a circular to all stations regarding its practices in cases of non-compliance with regulations.
In Ireland all was quiet and in the UK, the Radio Authority has published details of applications for two local licences and the award of a new digital multiplex licence.
The former concern the re-advertised licences for the Thamesmead area of South-East London and the Haringey area of North London.
For Thamesmead it has received three applications.
*from existing licensee Millennium Fm Ltd., which is a full-service station;
*from Starmela.Co.Uk Ltd, which proposes a service, targeted at young Asian listeners,
*and from Unity Fm Ltd, which proposes a cross-cultural service, based on hits from the 7os onwards.
For Haringey, there were two applications.
They are from existing licensee London Greek Radio Ltd., which provides a service for Greek-speaking listeners, and Fusion Fm Ltd., which proposes an adult contemporary international music format.
On the digital front, the Authority has awarded the new multiplex licence for Southend & Chelmsford to GWR subsidiary Now Digital Ltd., the sole applicant. Proposed is a service of 8 channels plus the local BBC station Radio Essex.
The commercial services proposed are:
*Contemporary hit music - Essex FM (provider: Essex Radio Ltd.)
*Gold - Breeze (provider: Classic Gold Digital Ltd.)
*Classic and contemporary soul - The Rhythm (provider: Digital Programme Services Ltd.)
*Dance music- Provider: to be decided
*Easy listening - Provider: to be decided
*Country music - Ritz (provider: RMG plc)
*Music from the movies & shows - Flix (provider: Infinity Media Ltd.)
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission has been busier on the telephone side than broadcast.
On the radio side it has proposed to levy a fine of $15,000 on KMCA-AM/Burney, California, for operating on an unlicensed frequency and from unauthorised locations and for failing to maintain a local or toll-free phone in its licence community.
Station owners M.C. Allen Productions have 30 days to appeal.
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site: (links to research paper - 850 kb rich text file)
CRTC Web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2001-05-12: The Paul Harvey radio show The Rest of the Story has now passed 25 years on air.
It began on May 10, 1976, and has been a family affair throughout its existence with Harvey's son as writer and his wife as executive producer.
ABC networks now claim a weekly audience of some 15 million for the show and in November last year signed a ten-year deal with 82-years-old Harvey worth an estimated $100 million (See RNW Nov 4).
Harvey himself missed the anniversary show because he has laryngitis although he hopes to be back on air on Monday.
His son Paul presented the show in his father's place.
Previous ABC, US:
2001-05-12: UK Chrysalis group has reported a pre-tax loss for the six months to the end of March as strong performances at its radio, music and television divisions was overwhelmed by dot.com losses.
The former made a before-tax profit of £4.3 million in the six months to the end of February but the latter lost £9.1 million to take Chrysalis to £5.6 million in the red.
EBITDA before new media losses was up 158% Chrysalis reported a 12% audience increase for its radio stations-- it operates stations under the Arrow, Heart and Galaxy names -- and its radio division had a 38% rise in revenue.
It also reported success for the MXR consortium in which it is the lead shareholder and which has been awarded each of the four UK digital multiplex licences for which it applied -- those in the North East, South Wales/Severn Estuary, West Midlands and North West.
Radio division operating profits before interest and tax were £3.69 million, some 85% of the group's total.
Chrysalis says it has suffered from the slowdown in general radio revenues over the past two months but is confident that its radio stations
2001-05-11: Latest UK radio audience figures from RAJAR (Radio Joint Audio Research) show the lead that the BBC had in the quarter up to December 2000 has been maintained.
For the period to March 25th, its weekly reach was 65% (43372000) compared with 64% (43370000) in the previous period and its share of listeners was 52.2% compared with 51.7%.
For network radio the BBC weekly reach was the same at 55% with weekly reach up from 39.9% compared to 39.7%.
Commercial Radio's total reach was marginally up from 30871000 to 31031000 but its percentages remained the same at 64% reach and 46% share.
Comparing the latest figures with those up to December,
*BBC Radio 1 lost around 375000 listeners and had a weekly reach of 21% compared 22% and share of 9.1% compared to 10%;
*BBC Radio 2 increased its audience by some 182,000 to end with weekly reach of 23% compared to 22% and share of 14.1% compared to 13.6%;
*BBC Radio 3 lost some 60,000 listeners to end with a weekly reach of 4% (as before) and share of 1.1% compared to 1.2%;
*BBC Radio 4 gained some 255,000 listeners to end with a weekly reach of 19% compared to 18% and share of 11.3% compared to 10.8%;
*and BBC Radio 5 gained some 160000 listeners to end up with a weekly reach of 12% compared to 11%and share of 4.3% compared to 4.1%.
On the commercial side for national networks,
*New Atlantic (Atlantic 252) lost some 25000 listeners to end up with the same 2% reach but an 0.5% share compared to 0.6%;
*Classic FM gained some 14000 listeners to end up with the same 13% reach and a 4.7% share compared to 4.4%;
*TalkSport gained 86000 listeners to end up with a 5% reach compared to 4% and a 1.7% share compared to 1.3%;
*and Virgin gained 37000 listeners to end up with the same 5% reach and a 1.5% share compared to 1.4%.
The increase for TalkSport will be particularly welcomed by the Wireless Group which has already moved its audience demographic into the young male audience rather than older women with consequent improvement to its advertising pull (See RNW April 30 ) and below.
Previous Atlantic 252:
Previous Classic FM:
Previous UK audience figures:
Previous UK Wireless Group:
RAJAR web site (links to quarterly reports):
2001-05-11: In the UK Independent, Martin Kelner, looking ahead to the release of the UK radio audience figures has a column headed, "Are we to deduce that TalkSport listeners are constipated homosexuals with an unhealthy interest in astrology?"
In it he comments of the figures that, "They will be a triumph for everyone."
"They always are; once the station bosses have spun them to show that, yes, while it is true that fewer people may be listening, and while those people may listen for only a short time before switching off, the station can still boast more self-employed Volvo-driving cheese-lovers than all its leading rivals."
" Hurrah. As Mark Twain almost said, there are lies, damned lies, and radio audience figures."
He then picks up on the point of audience demographics to look at how TalkSport, which may have failed to increase the audience significantly has changed its demographic so that it is "now dominated by young, up market males Mondeo men, if you like who should be rather attractive to advertisers, a theory voiced in regular on-air promotions."
He follows up by looking at some of the advertisements he had picked up in "admittedly sporadic" listening to the station.
They included those for "Sunraisia prune juice (and apologies if that is spelt incorrectly, as I have yet to see the drink actually on sale anywhere)."
"If you have heard those ads, you will remember them: excruciating poems extolling the health-giving properties of the mighty Australian prune, recited in a monotone by what sounds like a dangerously catatonic Dame Edna Everage."
Kelner also comments on adverts for "TalkSport Singles, a dating service, which I find confusing, given that the station now seems to be aimed at an almost exclusively male audience."
On a more serious point, he refers to TalkSport head Kelvin MacKenzie's objections to the RAJAR diary system.
MacKenzie thinks this system skews the figures to the benefit of the BBC and produces less accurate figures than would a system such as the Arbitron portable people meter which measures what people are actually listening to with no reliance on them having to note things down (See RNW September 5).
UK Independent article:
2001-05-11: An Internet study by Scarborough Research finds that Americans' use of the Internet is increasing whilst that of other media is declining amongst Internet users although many people have a TV or radio on when online.
The decline in use of other media was not great and of traditional media, radio fared best.
Compared to nearly a quarter of respondents who said they had watched TV less, only nine per cent reported listening to radio less after they became Internet users; In addition , 11% reported an increase in total radio listening with 17% listening frequently or occasionally to Internet radio when online.
Internet radio listeners had in general been online longer than average; some two thirds of them had been online for three years or more compared to 55 per cent of the total of Americans online.
Scarborough Research report:
2001-05-11: Journalists who own a third of the shares in the Moscow Echo radio station have put in a $4 million bid to take control of the station according to the Financial Times.
The station is still controlled by exiled Russian tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky but his quarter of the shares is due to go to state-backed gas giant Gazprom under a court ruling that will give it control of Gusinsky's Russian media assets.
Gusinski's Media Most is appealing against this decision.
Gazprom already owns 25% of theMoscow Echo plus one share and would gain control of the station if it gets the extra shares.
Gazprom has already taken over Gusinsky's NTV television channel despite opposition from journalists who saw the action as a way for Russian President Vladimir Putin to effectively control Russia's broadcast media.
Alexei Vendediktov, chief editor of the station, told the paper his proposal was for the journalists to gain bank financing for the share purchase of the station, which he said was profitable.
"If Gazprom refuses our offer, it will show that this fight is about politics and not economics," he said.
Financial Times report:
2001-05-10:More US radio third quarter results this week so far show revenues still down but optimism from executives as cost cutting measures start flowing through to the accounts.
First Christian-oriented Salem Communications, which seems to have avoided the slow down and reported record first quarter results.
At a conference call it put this down largely to the fact that its advertisement market differs from general stations with particular emphasis on such segments as health/medical, financial, and charitable organizations.
Salem's net broadcasting revenue was up a third on a year ago to $30.1 million, and broadcast cash flow was up 3$ to $10.2 million; same station net revenue was up 12.2% and BCF was up 11.4% for the quarter.
Broadcast cash flow as a percentage of revenues fell to 33.9% for the quarter compared to 43.8% in Q1, 2001, due to the impact of start-up costs for new "Fish" contemporary Christian music-formatted stations WYGY-FM Cincinnati, WFSH-FM Atlanta, KFSH-FM Los Angeles, and WZFS-FM Chicago.
Salem says that the stations are expected to produce favourable results for both revenues and BCF from the second half of this year onwards.
EBITDA was up by 13.7% to $5.8 million for the quarter and overall Salem reported a net loss of $4.7 million for the quarter (20 cents a share), compared to a net loss of $1.7 million, (7cents a share) for Q1, 2000.
Salem is forecasting a healthy continuation in the second quarter and for the full year it projects net broadcasting revenue of $139.6 million, a 26.8% over 2000; broadcast cash flow of $56.1 million, a 13.6% increase. Same station net broadcasting revenue is forecast to be 10% up and BCF 12% up for the year.
In the Spanish language market, there was also a positive feel.
Radio Unica was upbeat over revenues it said were up 14% if the figures for the 2000 Gold Cup soccer tournament were excluded; actual revenues were 10% down to $5.6 million but EBITDA, which had no soccer costs to include, wasn't as far in the red -- it improved from $4.6 million in the red in Q1 to $4 million for this year's first quarter.
The net loss applicable to common shareholders for Q1, 2001, was $10.3 million (49 cents per basic and diluted share) compared to a net loss of $8.9 million (43 cents per basic and diluted share) for Q1, 2000. UNICA is forecasting radio income to grow by 12-15% for full 2001.
For Entravision, TV was the strong performer but its other division, radio, outdoor and print, fared much worse.
Pro forma radio revenues were down 8% to $13 million and cash flow was down 11$ to $3.2 million.
Part of this was attributed to the decision to re-format 25 stations at the end of last year which led to a 13% fall in revenues but Entravision says the new formats are already showing rating gains.
In the general market, there was also an upbeat message from Cumulus with CEO Lewis W. Dickey Jr. speaking of "continued improvement in operating performance" and "meaningful expense reductions."
The figures themselves showed net revenues down and broadcast cash flow up in all the three sets provided;
on a historical basis they were revenues down 6.6% to $44.6 million with BCF up nearly 70% to $3.8 million;
on a same station basis (which covers 167 stations) revenues were down 2% to $29.1 million but BCF was up nearly 112% to $5 million;
and on a pro-forma basis revenues were down 2.3% to $29.1 million but BCF was up 37.5% to $9.3 million.
On a historical basis after tax cash flow was $7.2 million in the red (20 cents a share) compared to $9.5 million in the red (27 cents a share) in Q1, 2000.
The market reacted favourably to the results with Cumulus shares rising by around 14%.
2001-05-10: XM has now successfully launched its second satellite, "Roll" from a Sea Launch platform.
An hour after its flight, XM said contact has been made with a tracking station in Australia and all systems were operating normally.
Barring problems, the satellite, which will be positioned in geo-synchronous orbit at 85 degrees West longitude, will operate in conjunction with sister satellite "Rock", already at 115 degrees West, to provide cover of the whole US.
"Rock" was launched on May 18 after last minute problems led XM to abort the January launch of "Roll", which had been due to go into space first.
The launch potentially gives XM an edge over its rival, Sirius Satellite Radio. Although the latter's satellites were launched successfully earlier, XM may be able to start its service first as it seems to be ahead in progress with its chip delivery programme following Sirius problems, now said to be overcome, which had caused signals to fade. (See RNW April 13).
Sirius web site:
XM web site:
2001-05-10: The US Federal Communications Commission on Thursday dropped from the agenda of its open commission meeting an item concerning media cross-ownership.
It was to have considered a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to change current rules, which prohibit cross ownership of newspapers and broadcasters in the same market.
No clue was given as to re-scheduling of the discussion but there was speculation that the delay was because of irrenconcileable differences between Commissioners Harold Furchtgott-Roth, a Republican who wants minimal regulation, and Gloria Tristani, a Democrat who wants to keep restrictions.
There was further speculation that the matter would now be put on hold until after new commissioners are appointed to the FCC to replace Commissioners Susan Ness and Furchtgott-Roth, who are leaving, and to fill a vacant post.
Previous Furchtgott-Roth :
2001-05-10: A look today courtesy of the Boston Globe at what it calls a "tiny, non-commercial, ultra-low-power community radio station."
The station has just moved to the site of a former travel agency and doesn't know how many listeners it has although it does know it has listeners from as far away as Europe tuning to its web site.
The station involved is 100-milliwatt Allston-Brighton Free Radio -ABFR-AM.
Its founder and general manager Stephen Provizer says that in a car with a good radio its signal travels for maybe a couple of miles but for those in a house maybe only half a mile.
It was closed down for three days last week while it moved to its new studios but was back on air on Thursday, well in time for its Saturday night public affairs show which gets w wider audience through a re-broadcast on WJIB-AM.
The station has been going just over a year and the Globe describes it as a "broadcasting nonentity, a quirky combination of community theatre, neighbourhood bulletin board, amateur radio hour, and antiestablishment politics, all produced on good intentions and a shoestring budget."
The station has only basic equipment and its broadcasters pay the station to go on air, not the other way round.
Hosts pay $2 a show, guests $1 and the range of output from pet shows though a wide range of music to personal finances and progressive politics with a variety of languages thrown in for good measure.
It is legal although Provizer previously ran a pirate station, 15-watt Radio Free Allston, until the Federal Communications Commission shut it down after a complaint from WROR-FM about interference.
Provizer then found out about Part 15 broadcasting, a low-power radio niche "too small for the FCC to bother with" and the owners of a building let him put up a 10-foot whip antenna and he was back on air at a cost of about $12,000.
Broadcasting via the Internet is a key part of his strategy, Provizer says. The signal is strong, and the audience it reaches is younger and more politically progressive.
And if even a few online listeners use home transmitters to rebroadcast the station's signal, the station can extend its range significantly beyond current limitations.
Boston Globe article.
ABFR web site:
2001-05-09: Emmis Communications is fighting a $14000 fine on Chicago-based host Erich "Mancow" Muller on the basis that that there are no tapes or exact transcripts of the shows involved according to Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Feder.
Feder says that Doyle Rose, president of the company's radio division has submitted a five page response to the FCC.
In it, Rose that if the word of a complainant is taken without a transcript or tape, "broadcasters will be at the mercy of complainants who lace their complaints with buzzwords and affect a sufficient degree of outrage."
"The commission in this case effectively shifted the burden of proof to Emmis to establish the absence of a violation."
Sun -Times column:
RNW note:This writer recalls when in a past existence he had to plough through some five years of TV programme recordings in connection with a UK legal case.
Rembering this and noting the requirements for recordings and loggings of broadcasts in the UK, we would suggest two logical outcomes in this case if regulation is to be kept at all in terms of content and amount to anything in practical terms.
Most logical would be a legal requirement for all US stations to keep recordings of all its output (not that difficult with modern technology) for say three years, thus neatly ending responses such as those of Emmis.
Broadcasters would then have the proof of what was aired.
The other would be not to apply a general rule hitting everybody but in such cases as this to have an automatic rule that such responses immediately bring upon the station concerned such a requirement.
We do not consider it unreasonable for broadcasters nowadays to be required to keep archives as print media have for ages.
Any comments? E-mail us.
2001-05-09: Veteran ABC News radio producer and reporter Charles W Taylor has died aged 58.
He had been with the network for 34 years, joining them in 1966 as a news writer and then holding a variety of posts during which he reported the White House, NASA space missions and crises in the Middle East.
Previous ABC, America:
2001-05-09: Although the streaming on US broadcast stations is still reduced because of the dispute over extra charges for advertisements made for radio, it hasn't affected Internet audiences according to Measurecast.
It says that for the second week running the numbers listening increased, taking its Internet Radio Index up 2% from 135 to 138.
The dispute has, however continued to significantly affect the company's ratings as measured by Total Times Spent Listening (TTSL).
In the week to May 6, four of the top five were Internet-only streams, the exception being UK Virgin Radio, which fell back to number 3 with a lower TTSL but had a higher Cume Persons, an indication of the total number of people who listened to the station.
A newcomer at the top, in fifth place, pushing ESPN Sports Talk down to 6th place, was Internet-only Top 100 which moved up from 6th place.
It had an audience increase of almost a fifth, although this is still less than it had two weeks ago when it was 20th but facing competition from streamed broadcast stations.
For the week to May 6, the top five stations in the period ranked by TTSL were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets) were:
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 159,976 (148,827); CP 46,411 (39,236) - Position unchanged
2): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 58,202 (60,650); CP 8,472 (11,064)- Previously 3rd
3): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 58,000 (63,252); CP10, 303 (9,004) - - previously 2nd.
4): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WKUndergroundradio TTSL 48,903 (51,665) CP 13,548 (13,184) - Previously 5th.
5): Internet only Hot 100 TTSL 40,845 (38,193); CP (6,136) - Previously 6th.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-05-09: An interesting sidelight on the US Arbitron ratings from Howard Kurtz's media column in the Washington Post.
This notes that, far from being hit hard by former President Clinton's departure from office, top-rated US talk-show host Rush Limbaugh has in fact increased his audience share in 13 of 16 major markets including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Baltimore and Washington.
He has a weekly audience of nearly 20 million, way ahead of any radio talk competitors.
Some commentators had forecast that Limbaugh would lose his fizzle when he no longer had Clinton in office to attack but had to move to defending the Bush administration.
Kurtz notes that Limbaugh points out that his show grew from 56 to 500 stations during the first Bush administration, adding an additional 150 during the Clinton years.
Limbaugh told the paper that he welcomed the change.
"I was never obsessed with Clinton personally," Limbaugh said. "He was so dominant that he could not be avoided."
"But I am happy he is gone. I actively avoid mentioning him now."
"It is like being freed from prison. There is so much more to talk about now, and not just politics."
Washington Post article:
2001-05-08: Toronto's CHUM-AM is now a music presence on the Internet only.
It has switched to an All-Sport format with its final show hosted by two CHUM executives and former DJs from the 60s, Duff Roman and Bob Laine, and including tapes from old shows.
Saying farewell to the legendary Canadian station in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Murray Campbell notes that its very foundation came by chance -because its then owner in 1954, Jack Part, owned a pharmaceutical firm and the radio station and wanted to sell one of them.
Cough-syrup salesman Allen Waters preferred the former but Part preferred to sell the latter.
The next step came when Waters, now 79, took a trip the US to see what was being done in radio there and came back with the idea of a 24-hour rock station.
There was resistance to a limited playlist so, as he told the paper, Waters " took all the records we had and threw them out the back door so we had only 40 records."
The new format had its debut on May 27, 1957, with All Shook Up by Elvis Presley then proclaimed as the No. 1 hit.
Rock, however, was not totally dominant then -the next three records in the chart were Pat Boone's Love Letters in The Sand, Andy Williams' I Like Your Kind of Love and the Everly Brothers' Bye Bye Love.
Ratings shot up and the station became a must for Canada's teenagers with the CHUM Top 50 chart being an institution, which was widely checked in North America.
The station was hit hard by the switch to stereo and FM and in 1986 it switched to a soft-rock format and then in 1989 to all-oldies, playing much of the music that had featured in its hey-day.
Toronto Globe and Mail report:
2001-05-08: XM Satellite Radio is to launch its second satellite, XM Roll, in a 45-minute window starting around 23.10 GMT (1810 EDT) today from the Sea Launch platform currently at the Equator.
"XM Roll" had been scheduled to be the first XM satellite to go into space but its launch was aborted after a last-moment technical hitch in January (See RNW Jan 10) and sister satellite "XM Rock" was launched first instead on March 18(RNW Mar 19). Sea Launch is providing a web cast of the launch(link below).
Sea Launch web site:
XM web site :
2001-05-08: Computer jukebox company MusicMatch is to start a subscription audio service, Radio MX,to sell music on the Internet.
It's due to launch a test version next week and says it will charge $5 per month or $50 a year.
Its move, in the wake of the Napster court case over copyright fees for music on the Internet, is the latest in a number of Internet music service initiatives.
They include those of Microsoft and streaming media pioneer Real Networks, which last month signed a deal with five major record companies to form a new company MusicNet, which will licence subscription technology.
Radio MX will have no advertising and says it expects to have a catalogue of some 20,000 songs ready for download by summer although it has not announced any signed deals with record companies.
Initially the plan is to set up a system allowing so many downloads a month from a playlist but it hopes to move to an on-demand service.
MusicMatch web site:
2001-05-07: A vintage week in some ways for coverage of radio in print media with particular note of the UK Sony Awards (RNW May 1)and in the US, a Salon.com article on Clear Channel arousing considerable follow up.
The latter, a swinging attack on the US giant from Eric Boehlert even sparked a response from Clear Channel's CEO Randy Michaels who had been central figure attacked. He told RBR that the article had "little factual basis", was "just wild" and in particular denied that there had been a tape recording made of comments by some AMFM producers which had left to them being fired after Clear Channel took over AMFM. Michael's told RBR he wasn't planning any lawsuit and commented," I could fire anybody at AMFM I wanted without tape-who would I be taping it for?"
"I don't need tape to fire a producer. Secondly, as the CEO, you think I get involved in who the producers at AMFM are? No-I didn't tape anybody." (RNW note: Clear Channel itself is involved in a lawsuit against InsideRadio and its publisher Jerry Del Calliano over attacks made on it.)
And the article itself?
Headlined "Radio's Big Bully" it then has a strap line saying, "Dirty tricks and crappy programming: Welcome to the world of Clear Channel, the biggest station owner in America."
The article hits at Clear Channel on many fronts: These include accusations that:
*it abuses its dominant position in top 40 and rock stations in alliance with ownership of the SFX concert promoting subsidiary to ensure that SFX gets the best concerts and that bands who go elsewhere get short shrift on its radio stations afterwards.
*it abused its alliance with syndication arm Premiere Networks to take popular shows away from rivals who have aired them for years and air them on Clear Channel's own stations without giving the other stations any option of bidding to retain the show.
*that through Tri-State, run by a friend of Michael's, they are trying to cut out independent record promotion companies (lobbyists paid by record companies to get their songs played on radio stations: direct payment would violate US "payola" laws) to gouge money out of the record companies.
*that Clear Channel's corporate policies are at best amoral and at times immoral with examples being cited of a sexual harassment case against Michaels personally and Clear Channel and of the recent wild boar slaying in Florida. (see RNW March 18).
*that its practice of getting one person through digital technology to host seemingly local shows in a number of locations (See RNW April 23) is carried through in an exploitative manner with little or no extra payments made.
RNW comment - Salon carries a few pro-comments from competitor stations, more from the anti-camp but too many of its specific allegations are based on anonymous comments (said to be a result of the fear Clear Channel inspires in those working in radio) but it would seem reasonable to comment that the article clearly gives the impression that the company has many executives much closer to being yobs than gentlemen! See link below for the full 5-page article (if Salon stays in business that is!).
After which more criticism of a big player before ending on a more positive note.
This time it's criticism of BBC Radio 2 for dropping its annual "Young Musician" competition.
In an article entitled "Dereliction of Duty", Paul Donovan in the UK Sunday Times contrasts this with the self-congratulatory attitudes at this week's Sony Awards when Radio 2 won the "Station of the Year" award (See RNW May 1 ).
Donovan praises the value of the competition in the past in giving a first leg-up to many now-professional musicians.
He dismisses the BBC response and concludes, "The reason why Radio 2 should maintain the radio event is because it is noble to do so, and Radio 2 can well afford to support it because it receives £50m of public money every year."
"Unlike commercial radio, it does not have to make a profit or deliver audiences to advertisers."
The more positive - or should we say, vastly more positive note, comes courtesy of the New York Times.
In an opinion entitled "Low Tech Democracy", Thomas L Friedman credits the existence of private FM stations with a major impact on bringing Ghana's first-ever peaceful transition from one elected civilian government to another.
The Ghanaian government allowed private stations to be set up in 1995 and now there are some 40 in the country
"For Ghana's poor, illiterate masses," Friedman writes, "being able to call the radio, or be interviewed in the market by a radio reporter with a tape recorder, has given them a chance to participate in politics as never before."
"It was this national conversation, conducted over FM radio, that was critical in enabling J. A. Kufuor, a free- market democrat, to defeat Mr. Rawlings's tired, floundering party, which had run Ghana into the ground during 20 years in office."
Friedman also says that the four most "democratic countries in West Africa today - Benin, Ghana, Mali and Senegal - all have private, flourishing FM talk radio stations."
As far as Ghana's elections were concerned, Friedman notes that the then-opposition won in the eight provinces where there were private stations and the government only in the two where there was only the state broadcaster.
He concludes that the lesson for Africa is that the "real information revolution here will be based on cheap FM transmitters and even cheaper radios."
"So let's stop sending Africa lectures on democracy. Let's instead make all aid, all I.M.F.-World Bank loans, all debt relief conditional on African governments' permitting free FM radio stations. Africans will do the rest."
RNW Note - Might even be worth putting up with Bubba's antics, which in fairness rather pall compared with, for example those of the Zimbabwe Government -which doesn't permit private radio stations and seems to have somewhat explosive or incendiary reactions to other opposition including print media.
Previous Clear Channel:
New York Times -Friedman:
Salon - Boehlert:
UK Sunday Times - Donovan:
2001-05-07: Canada's new all-sports radio network launches today with a total of ten CHUM stations from Vancouver to Halifax.
It had been expected to go on air earlier (See RNW Nov 19)
"The Team" network will have one of its hardest fights in Toronto where CHUM-AM had been a leading music station for more than 40 years.
There it is head-to-head against Telemedia's "The FAN" which has now been on air for nearly nine years.
The FAN's afternoon drive Prime Time Sports hosted by Bob McCown is aired on some 15 stations but mostly in Ontario. Its outlets until recently included CHUM's station in Windsor, Ontario.
Now McCown will be up against a duo of Jim Van Horne from TSN and Toronto Globe and Mail columnist Stephan Brunt.
CHUM has invested some Can$10 million in the all sports network and publicly says its in a no-lose situation because of the benefits it can gain from cross-promotion with its cable and broadcast TV outlets.
It also suggests that it could take enough of The FAN's audience and advertising to cripple its rival which has said that there isn't enough national advertising around to support CHUM's network.
2001-05-06: Licence news this week involves controversy in Australia and the UK about comments made by the chairs of their regulatory bodies and otherwise was mainly concerned with community radio services.
In Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Authority chairman has become embroiled in controversy after he suggested elimination of media cross-ownership regulations (See RNW May 3 and May 4).
In addition, the ABA has been active on the community licence front.
In Victoria, it has allocate a new permanent community radio licence for Sunbury to 3NRG Incorporated, which is already broadcasting every day for 24 hours under a temporary licence running to the end of August.
3NRG Incorporated was the only applicant for the licence and its proposed service will cover a wide range of local issues, news, information and music.
And in the Melbourne area, the Authority is to change the licence area plan for the Shepparton area by extending the licence area of the Alexandra/Eildon community radio service 3UGE to include Yea and Marysville.
3UGE already serves part of Maryville and the Authority said it has received submissions supporting the plan to extend its coverage area.
The authority has also received an expression of interest from Triangle Community Broadcasters, which operates a low power open narrowcast service to Maryville, in providing an independent community radio service to Marysville but said it felt that with a population of only 750, Maryville alone was too small to support a separate service.
Triangle's narrowcast service will be allowed to continue.
The ABA has also invited applications for three new community licences in Byron Bay, New South Wales; Gayndah, Queensland and Geraldton, Western Australia.
Applications have to be from not-for-profit organisations and must be filed by May 30.
Finally it has released details of the applications received for community licences in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Those for Brisbane are from:
* 25-45 yr olds interest applicant - 2 Groove (QLD) Association Inc. (Groove FM
* Christian interest applicant- Family Radio Limited
*Mature Aged interest applicant - Silver Memories Community Radio Association Inc.
*Youth interest applicants Brisbane Interactive Radio Group Inc. (Switch FM)
*and Greater Brisbane Radio Broadcasters Inc (Pulse FM).
There was also an application from Radio Queensland Inc with details still to be forwarded.
For the Gold Coast the applicants are
*Aged interest applicant -Radio Hope Island
*Christian interest applicant - Christian Air Broadcasters Ltd (Life FM)
*Country and adult contemporary applicant - Heartland Opry Group Inc.
* General interest applicants - Gold Coast Community Broadcasters Ltd (Station X) *and Portace Pty Ltd (Alley FM)
*Print handicapped interest applicant - Vision Australia Foundation
*and youth interest applicant Hott FM Ltd.
Canada has been very quiet on the radio side with main activities of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) concerning technical changes and extensions of deadlines for a number of stations plus approval of the transfer of control of CJOY-FM, serving Moncton, New Brunswick to Maritime Broadcasting System Limited.
Time extensions include those relating to:
*an FM station in Belleville, Ontario
*to implement CHCN-FM at Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
*to implement the radio programming undertaking CKSR-FM at Chilliwack, British Columbia, for Radio Communautaire Kapnord
*to implement a new transmitter at Smooth Rock Falls, Ontario, to temporarily operate CHNO-FM Sudbury, Ontario at an effective radiated power of 2,900 watts
*and a second extension of time limit approved to implement a power increase for CKDX-FM, Newmarket, Ontario.
On the technical side the CRTC has approved a changes to a new FM transmitter at Hawkesbury, Ontario which rebroadcasts the signal of the French-language radio station CIMF-FM Hull and a change in the contours of the radio programming undertaking CKXA-FM Brandon, Manitoba.
In Ireland, activity by the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) was related to Dublin special interest licences which were awarded to Solas FM for the religious service and Star FM for a music service of country and Irish music (See RNW May 1).
In the UK, the Radio Authority's sole licence activity was a preliminary determination of short-form public interest test for Guardian Media Group's Variety FM Ltd which has submitted an application for the Radio Authority's new local licence for the South and West Yorkshire region.
The test is required under regulations concerning station ownership by a national newspaper group.
Last year the Authority approved the award of the new South Wales licence to another GMG station, Real Radio, and it says that it "is minded to determine that the public interest would not be adversely affected if Variety FM Ltd were to be awarded the Independent Local Radio licence for the South and West Yorkshire region."
The authority has also been involved in a symposium at which the Authority's "preliminary thoughts on regulating for high quality in broadcasting" were set out by its Chief Executive, Tony Stoller, on behalf of its Chairman, Richard Hooper.
In the speech he argued that "Local commercial radio gets spectrum free without payment and thus in a quid pro quo is under obligations to broadcast in the public interest, of which quality is clearly a crucial element."
He said later, "There is no research evidence from anywhere in the world that I have seen that demonstrates that competition in the media industry by itself produces quality; it tends to produce shoulder to shoulder competition in the middle brow of public taste."
Commenting on UK regulation, he says that this "associates the obligations it gives us in respect of high quality services with the task of ensuring that there is "a wide range of programmes calculated to appeal to a variety of tastes and interests."
"The beauty parade system of awarding local licences, linked to subsequent format regulation, is a very specific way in which the regulator tries to achieve high quality through diversity and choice."
The speech also contains thoughts as to what constitutes "quality" in commercial radio (which we have taken as the starting point for this month's Comment.)
The speech was later attacked by Paul Brown, Chief Executive of the Commercial Radio Companies Association, for undervaluing commercial radio.
Commenting on the future regulation of commercial radio, Brown said it was an example of everyone "paddling their own canoe" and implied that commercial radio wasn't high quality.
"I can understand why the Radio Authority wants to ensure that its value is understood and its relevance is maintained in the new order," he said.
" Fine, but I wish it would make a greater effort not to devalue its current licensees in the process."
In the US, things have been fairly quiet although the Federal Communications Commission has reduced one fine it imposed.
This was a penalty of $22000 on KYOO AM and FM in Bolivar, Missouri after an inspection of its transmission tower showed amongst other things that the transmitter was unmonitored some equipment inoperable, it was rusty and not clearly visible to aircraft and its condition had been unlogged and unreported.
The station admitted the offences but entered a plea of poverty backed by its tax returns from 1997 through 1999 and asked for a reduction to $8000.
The FCC did more than split the difference and cut the fine to $12000.
Previous Guardian Media Group:
Previous Licence News:
Previous Star FM:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
CRTC Web site:
IRTC web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2001-05-06: One for the "twitchers" of the world today as the BBC charts the sounds of wildlife awakening round much of the globe on BBC Radio 4 to mark International Dawn Chorus Day.
As well as full length programmes, the BBC will be broadcasting 40-second extracts of animal and bird sounds between programmes.
The big gap in the arrangements is Africa and parts of Asia.
The reason given for this being that dawn there is during the British night -the programmes start at 04:30 GMT from Sweden with the sounds of reed warblers and end at 2231GMT (11.31 PM in Britain) with the marsh frog chorus in Russia.
BBC Dawn Chorus web page:
2001-05-06: Tom Birdsey, formerly of the Rocko & Birdsey afternoon show on Active Rock WAAF-FM, Boston, has now turned up on Modern Rock WFNX-FM.
Birdsey, whose contract at WAAF was not renewed (RNW April 20) called WFNX afternoon hostStorm Zbel on Wednesday and was given a chance to say goodbye to his listeners.
According to the Boston Herald the 30-minute appearance on WFNX could effectively be an audition.
Birdsey told the paper he lost his contract because he missed the signing deadline by 22 hours with his lawyer out of town and feels he had a raw deal.
The Herald reports that WAAF disputes this and says that a contract was never agreed because, although there was agreement on money, other issues such as non-compete clauses had not been agreed.
And on the issue of non-compete clauses, earlier this week the Senate Commerce Committee of the North Carolina General Assembly rejected legislation that would have banned non-compete clauses in broadcasting employment contracts.
A law, which imposes such, a ban was recently passed in Illinois (see RNW April 30) and another is under consideration in Missouri.
And in Florida, also this week, a circuit court judge issued a temporary injunction prohibiting Jennifer Ross, who had moved to WRMF-FM in Palm Beach as morning co-host from any involvement at all with the station.
Former employer, Viacom-CBS-owned Infinity says Ross had agreed a non-compete clause when at WEAT-FM. Under the injunction, not only is Ross kept off air but also the station cannot employ her in any capacity or pay her.
Boston Herald report:
2001-05-05: Following the row over Vatican's Radio's excessive radiation from its transmitter complex near Rome, Italy's Environment Minister Willer Bordon has now tendered his resignation ten days before the country's general election according to the Italian news agency ANSA.
Bordon had threatened to cut power to the complex Santa Maria di Galeria if the Vatican did not bring levels, which he said were three times the Italian legal maximum, into conformity with the law (RNW Mar 17).
He was later overruled by Italy's Prime Minister Giuliano Amato (RNW April 13).
ANSA says that the Italian Cabinet discussed the Vatican Radio case on Wednesday this week and when he came out Bordon said the government response was utterly unsatisfactory. On Thursday he had a "polite telephone conversation" with the Prime Minister and wrote asking for concrete action against the transmitter complex. He then said, "Either something new happens today or I will wave everyone goodbye." The transmitters stand on land owned by the Vatican and thus, it says, allow it to claim immunity from Italian law but it has reduced its AM transmissions.
Previous Vatican Radio:
2001-05-05: Clear Channel remains in but Bubba the Love Sponge and WXTB-FM are out with the city of St Petersburg in Florida for this year's Fourth of July Fireworks celebrations.
Bubba, real name Todd Clem, is currently charged with animal cruelty following the castration and killing of a wild boar in WXTB-FM's car park in February; this led to a number of advertisers withdrawing spots from the station (see RNW March 18).
This year, before signing its regular agreement with Clear Channel, which owns eight stations in the area, St Petersburg City Council insisted that neither Bubba nor his station be allowed to participate in the fireworks at The Pier or July 4 concerts.
Clear Channel has agreed to keep Bubba and his station out of the list of stations that will use the fireworks display for promotional purposes and will put up $25000 for fireworks and another $15000 for local bands.
In return it gets exclusive rights to broadcast in the city-owned North and South Straub parks, at The Pier and in Vinoy Park during the July 4 event.
City Council member Bill Foster told the St Petersburg Times, "I think a lot of us are worried about the sponge man and all the publicity that surrounded that."
Other council members were concerned lest action against the station could be construed as censorship.
One member, Earnest Williams, told the paper, "I understand we want to promote a family wholesome event here, but we need to be careful about censorship. We could certainly say we don't want this individual here, and if that's the issue and I hear that from council members, I'd rather do that than saying the station can't send anyone."
Previous Clear Channel:
St Petersburg Times report:
2001-05-05: The Salem Radio Network, a news and programme provider owned by Salem Communications Corporation, is to buy the Dame-Gallagher Networks, based in New York City.
The prime programme involved in the acquisition is "The Mike Gallagher Show" which is currently heard on more than 190 radio stations with an estimated audience of more than 2.25 million.
The Salem Radio Network already produces and syndicates more than 20 shows and music formats including "SRN News," "The Michael Medved Show," and "The Dennis Prager Show."
With the acquisition the number of its affiliates will top 1,600.
In other US radio business, Radio One Inc has now sold privately a new issue of $300 million of 10-year bonds carrying an interest rate of 8.875%.
Radio One says it will use around two thirds of the money to reduce bank debts and $85 million to redeem 12% bonds it had issued in 1997. (See RNW April 19).
Previous Radio 1 Inc:
Salem Web site:
2001-05-05: After nude TV, nude radio: Radio Tango of Norway is broadcasting nude weather forecasts online during its morning show.
Pornography magazine "Lek", is hiring a new model each month to present the forecasts.
Morning host Michael Reines Oredam told Reuters that the idea emerged during discussions about what it would be nearly impossible to achieve on radio.
Radio Tango web site:
2001-05-04: More details of US radio revenues come with the Radio Advertising Bureau's release of its March report in which it says the US's, "sluggish economy put a strain on radio ad sales" but adds that local advertising was only marginally affected, dipping 6% while national advertising revenues was down 23% on March 2000 (when it was up some 40% on dot.com revenues).
For the first quarter of the year, combined advertising revenues were down 7% compared to Q1 2000 but within this figure local advertising was down only 3% and national figures were down 20%.
The RAB Sales Index, which sets 100 as the index for a base year of 1998 and thus eliminates some of the dot.com effect of last year, show the figures in a much better light.
The Sales Index overall for March is now 130.9, the local figure is 131.2 and the national one is 127.7.
On a year-to-date basis the figures are 132.2, 133.4 and 127.4 respectively.
RAB's President and Chief Executive Officer, Gary Fries, said," Local Radio continues to be more stable relative to other media sectors."
"The nature of the Radio business is so embedded in the local marketplace, that it will sustain our medium through this slowdown in the economy."
"Once we get into the later half of 2001, past the high comparisons from the first six months of 2000, radio will be well positioned to pick up momentum."
Reflecting the figures in part and in part their position in the marketplace, latest results to come out are mixed with Ackerley faring badly but Cox, Radio One Inc and Westwood doing comparatively well.
Seattle-based Ackerley Group reported overall net revenue down from $46.8 million for Q1 2000 to $44.9 million this year and EBITDA (net revenue less operating expenses and corporate overhead) for the quarter was a loss of $3.0 million compared to positive EBITDA of $6.5 million for the same period in 2000.
Radio net revenue was down more - from $6.6 million to $4.7 million - but radio expenses rose from $4.3 million to $5.4 million and radio EBITDA went from $2.3 million in the black to $0.7 million in the red.
Ackerley says its cost-cutting, now in progress, should see it on target for the year as a whole with a positive EBITDA for the group of around $35 million.
Atlanta-based Cox Radio, was affected less by the slowdown and reported first quarter revenues of $86.5 million, up 14% on Q1, 2000 and broadcast cash flow up 11.8% to $29.8 million, but same station figures were flat, with revenues only moving from $75.2 million to $75.4 million.
Overall the company made a loss -- of $2.14 million, or 2 cents a share.
This compares with a profit in Q1, 2000, of $32.9 million, or 38 cents but was better than the 3 cents loss analysts had been anticipating.
After tax cash flow was up 15.2% to $15.1 million but flat on a per share basis at 15 cents. On a pro-forma basis net revenues were down 4% to $86.8 million and BCF was down 10.4% to $29.9 million.
For the full year, Cox is reducing its forecasts.
It now expects Pro forma net revenue growth of between 0% and 3% over 2000(compared with an earlier forecast of 10% growth), Pro forma broadcast cash flow growth of between 0% and 4% and After-tax cash flow per share growth of between 6% and 11% (resulting in between 87 and 91 cents ATCF per share for 2001.
Cox CEO Robert F. Neil said that one key to Cox Radio's success was its " focus on serving our listeners."
"We conduct extensive research to deliver a quality product to our audiences," he added.
"This provides an important competitive advantage during challenging economic times as higher ranked radio stations can deliver more listeners to advertisers."
"With a top-three radio station in 13 of our 18 markets, we are well positioned to compete effectively."
Neil told analysts that the company was resisting a "slash and burn approach to costs, because it was important to build for the future when the advertising climate improves.
There were fairly good results also from Maryland-based Radio 1 Inc, which had net broadcast revenue of around $48 million, up 116% from Q1, 2000, and BCF of around $22 million, up 129%.
The company has been expanding rapidly and on a same-station basis broadcast revenue was up 5% and BCF was up 7%.
CEO and President, Alfred C. Liggins III, said, "This quarter showed that, even in relatively tough economic times, our focused programming strategy, our turnaround acquisition strategy and our disciplined operating strategy can still produce industry-leading results."
Executive Vice President and CFO, Scott R. Royster, added that the performance was impressive set against the first negative quarter in the radio industry in nearly a decade.
He commented, "We further reduced our leverage in the quarter and, going forward, we should benefit from the current lower interest rate environment relative to that of last year."
"While it is still too early to tell definitively, we are hopeful that the second half of 2001 will prove stronger than the first half, and there are some signs that things may be improving for our industry as we enter the month of May.''
Finally syndicator Westwood One, which is managed by Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting: and although its net revenues were down $533,000 to $121,569,000, Westwood still beat expectations for the quarter. It recorded a record operating cash flow of $29,317,000, up 6% on Q1, 2000 and free cash flow up 12% to a record $19,884,000, 18 cents a share compared to 15 cents for Q1, 2000. Joel Hollander, President and Chief Executive Officer said, "Westwood achieved record operating results in the first quarter of 2001 in spite of difficult revenue comparisons with last year's record first quarter revenue growth. We were able to achieve this through a combination of replacing the Internet advertising category from last year with more traditional advertisers, as well as continued emphasis on cost controls." Westwood's predictions for the rest of the year were a full year EBITDA of approximately $183 million and Free Cash Flow of approximately $109 million but it expects the second half of the year to be flat or down by up to 5% compared to 2000 when Internet-related revenues were nearly 11% of the total.
Previous RAB (US):
Previous Radio 1 Inc:
Previous Westwood One:
Ackerley web site:
Cox web site:
RAB web site:
Westwood One web site:
2001-05-04:Three members of the Australian Broadcasting Authority have distanced themselves from the Authority's chairman, Professor David Flint, and his call for an end to cross-media ownership laws (RNW May 3) according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Herald reports that Michael Gordon-Smith, Malcolm Long and Ian Robertson all expressed surprise that Flint should have used his keynote speech at the Authority's first national conference to express his private views on the matter.
Flint had argued that there was little point in regulating media ownership but had stressed that the views expresser were his own and not ABA policy.
The paper quotes ABA member Ian Robertson as saying that the issue of cross-media laws had not been discussed at all since he jointed the ABA board in 1998 and he had no idea that Flint was going to advocate their removal at the conference.
Roberston also criticised the speech for diverting attention away from research the ABA had commissioned into how Australia could achieve cultural and social aims in a digital global environment.
"I would not be happy to see the debate diverted into the entirely separate issue of cross-media when the impact of digital media on our culture is the issue," said Robertson.
Flint argued that media proprietors were not influential in setting the news agenda but Michael Gordon-Smith, who in 1999 chaired the ABA's "cash-for-comment enquiry into talk radio, told the paper that it was "interesting that in the report media owners are listed by the general public as the No 1 perceived influence and No 2 by journalists."
ABA web site (links to PDF of Flint presentation):
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2001-05-04: Howard Eskin of Viacom's Infinity-owned Philadelphia WIP-AM, who was sued in September of last year (RNW Sept 22) by the Miss America pageant after making remarks on-air suggesting that the contest was "fixed" has now apologised on air for his comments.
Under an agreement to settle the suit Eskin had to broadcast an apology three times.
In addition, the Miss America organisation is to get air time on a number of Infinity stations round the US.
The organisation had said it could not stand by whilst someone played "fast and loose" with the facts and had alleged that the comments had damaged the pageant's reputation.
The apology was to have been broadcast on Wednesday but Eskin didn't get round to it until Thursday.
It said," I regret having made those comments, which are untrue, and I apologize for doing so. I intended those comments to be a joke, and I did not have any facts to support them. I do not know of any reason to question the honesty and integrity of the judging of the Miss America Pageant."
2001-05-03: US Public Radio has broadcast nationally official audio records of a Georgia execution.
They were broadcast on Wednesday evening on WNYC AM and FM, New York public radio in "A Public Radio Special Report" The Execution Tapes" which was taken by other public radio stations round the US.
Excerpts had already been aired by the Fox Television News affiliate in Atlanta and are to be aired nationally on ABC TV's Nightline.
Tapes dealing with 19 executions were obtained by documentary radio producer David Isay from Georgia criminal defence layer Mike Mears.
Mears himself obtained them through a subpoena after finding out about their existence during a lawsuit he brought challenging Georgia's use of the electric chair.
The tapes recorded by prison staff contain narrations from prison staff of the events in the execution chamber during 23 executions in the state.
They included two cases where the first two-minute electrocution failed to kill the prisoners -- those of Larry Lonchar in 1996 and of Alpha Otis Stevens in 1984.
Isay obtained excerpts from tapes of 19 of the 23 executions.
The New York Times reports that Isay said that executions were a government act completely hidden from the public and he "wanted to shine a light on this process so people could understand what an execution is."
This isn't meant to be pro- or anti-death penalty. It's just what it is."
* Following criticisms of the electric chair, Georgia last year adopted lethal injection, the execution method now used by most US states, for anyone sentenced after May 1, 2000.
RNW Note: Current Magazine, the magazine about US public radio and TV, is carrying a number of items about Isay on its web site. Follow link below.
Current web site:
New York Times report:
2001-05-03: More de-regulation of radio round the English-speaking world now seems on the cards.
Following recent decisions of the US Federal Communications Commission to take a less interventionist role and British moves indicating a move towards US practices (See RNW July 5, 2000), comments made by regulatory chiefs in Australia and Ireland this week indicate that they are thinking along the same lines.
In Australia, the chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Professor David Flint, has called for the abolition of cross ownership rules following a new study.
The study, Sources of News and Current Affairs, was commissioned by the ABA and released at the ABA's annual conference in Canberra.
It was conducted in conjunction with Bond University and examined two questions, the main influences on the selection of news and which media outlets were most influential to Australian audiences.
The first part of the study showed that news producers rated their employers' influence quite low and cited their professional integrity as a bulwark against overt influence although some reported self-censorship and noted that ownership concentration in media could mean fewer opportunities for those who clashed with a leading proprietor.
In the second part of the study, however, audiences thought the business interests of media organisations were the greatest factor influencing what they got to hear, read or see.
In a news release, Professor Flint said the study showed that journalists' beliefs and commitments had more influence over the news agenda than ownership, or ratings.
He then asked," "What is the point of laws regulating ownership, domestic or foreign, if that is to limit influence when the greatest influence, on a daily basis, comes much more from the corps of journalists than from the media owner?"
"If media owners, where they exist, do not have and cannot have the power they may once have enjoyed, the better course might be to leave media ownership to the anti-trust laws."
In Ireland, the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC), said this week that it is to publish a consultation document on the control of media next month.
Chief Executive Michael O'Keeffe said there was general acceptance that parts of the commission's ownership policy were out of date.
Current rules prohibit media groups from owning more than a 27% of a licence holder but exceptions have frequently been made to the rules, most recently in the case of the Ulster TV bid to take over the Country Media Group in Cork In that case the Commission would not allow the total ownership UTV sought (See RNW Feb. 4) but it allowed the company to take a controlling 60 per cent stake.
Previous Prof. Flint:
Previous Ulster TV:
ABA web site (links to 117 kb/ 49 page Acrobat PDF of Flint presentation which we found an illuminating comment on the journalistic process in Australia.
Of particular note are sections concerning the difficulty in distinguishing between fact and comment in many news reports or indeed finding the facts at all in some):
2001-05-03: More US results and takeovers although the latter are on a fairly small scale: In Virginia Clear Channel is paying $1.35 million for WAZR-FM and in New York, Galaxy Communications is paying Tri-County Broadcasters $400000 for WSCP-AM and FM, in Sandy Creek and Pulaski, NY.
The result, from independent sales and marketing company Interep, shows Q1 revenues of $16.7 million, down 19.6% compared to Q1 2000.
The company had already given guidance that it expected a 20% fall.
Operating EBITDA was hit even harder; it went $2.8 million in Q1, 2000, all the way down to a loss of $1.5 million.
And finally a note that Fisher Communications, which reported its figures last month (RNW April 28) has now completed the sale of its flour mills business that were the foundation of the family fortunes.
The 91-years-old company is now focussed on broadcasting, programme production and distribution, satellite and fibre transmission and real estate.
Previous Clear Channel:
Fisher web site:
Interep web site:
2001-05-03: The Kerbango Internet radio is now officially defunct.
The company, which was purchased by 3-Com in June of last year for $80 million, is a victim of the harder times hitting the Internet world.
3-Cm announced in March that it was closing down its Internet Appliance Division whose products included Kerbango and web surfing device "Audrey" (RNW Mar 22).
Since then Kerbango had been hoping for a rescue but it did not arrive.
The Kerbango site carries a notice saying, "We Were Glad to be of Service As you may have read, 3Com is closing down its Internet Appliance Division."
"Since August of last year Kerbango has been part of that division, so we too will be going away."
"To those who actually got to see and use the Kerbango radio, we would like to thank you for your kind words and reviews."
"We showed the world the stand-alone Internet radio. May our path lead the way for those who come after us."
2001-05-02: First quarter results from Beasley and Regent are now out with the latter doing better than the former.
Kentucky-based Regent reports Q1 net revenues up 51.6% to $11.3 million from $7.5 million in Q1, 2000.
Broadcast cash flow was up 61.1% to $2.9 million as operating expenses increased by only around 47%.
Pro-forma same station net revenues (excluding barter) were up 6.7% to $2.7 million and pro forma same station broadcast cash flow was up 18.4% to $777,000.
Terry Jacobs, Chairman and CEO, said they were driven by a focus on building long-term relationships with our listeners and advertisers.
He added that where market reports were available, "Regent's same station results far outpaced their respective markets."
The company forecasts Q2 revenues in the $13.0 -- $13.3 million range and broadcast cash flow in the $4.2 -- $4.4 million range and same station revenue growth in the 2-4% range but broadcast cash flow declining in the range of 8-10% as a result of investment spending.
For the full year Regent forecasts reported revenues and broadcast cash flow of approximately $52-$54 million and $17.8-$18.3 million and same station revenue growth in the 5-7% range and broadcast cash flow growth in the 11-14% range.
For Florida-based Beasley, the results were weaker. Consolidated net revenue was up 13%, to $25.8 million but broadcast cash flow down from $6.9 million to $6.5 million.
On a same station basis, excluding WPTP-FM in Philadelphia which was reformatted in November and stations purchased from Centennial, net revenues were up 5.2% to $22.6 million but same station BCF fell by 1.4% to $7.1 million.
Beasley reported a net loss of $0.07 per common share, compared to a net loss $1.39 per share, in the first quarter of 2000.
For the second quarter Beasley forecasts revenue of approximately $29.0 million and BCF of approximately $7.0 million and ATCF per share of approximately $0.07 per share and same station revenues on the same basis as the first quarter to be down 10% on Q2 2000 with BCF down as much as a quarter.
The company is not making a full year forecast and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George G. Beasley, commented, "Like many radio broadcasters today, Beasley is not immune to slowing economic conditions and advertising activity." He said that in the first quarter Beasley slightly exceeded its internal estimates for revenue, BCF and ATCF per share as well as completing the Centennial acquisition, which adds strong clusters in Las Vegas and New Orleans to our portfolio."
"Beasley has now added another two FMs in Augusta, which makes Beasley the No. 1 cluster there in terms of revenue and ratings."
On the acquisition front elsewhere, Viacom-owned Infinity Broadcasting is spending $7.2 million to add WMFS-FM in Memphis to WMC-AM and WMC-FM, which it bought in July last year for $75.5million (RNW July 12)
Previous George Beasley:
Beasley web site:
Regent web site:
2001-05-02: WKIV-FM, Knoxville, Tennessee, has won this year's Academy of Country Music Award for top radio station and the disc jockey of the year award has gone to Carl P. Mayfield & P Team of WKDF-FM, Nashville.
The winners will receive their trophies on May 9 36th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
And on the Internet radio scene, BBC World Service which yesterday won the drama award in the Sony Awards for radio (RNW May 1), has been nominated for a "webby" award as radio web site against competition from COMFM, US National Public Radio's Fresh Air, StormLive of France and Youth Radio.
BBC News Online is nominated for the news site award against competition from CNN, Inside, Salon, and CNET.
The awards are to be presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences in San Francisco on July 18th.
BBC World Service site:
Fresh Air site:
Youth Radio site:
Webby Awards site:
2001-05-02: Internet audio listening has continued to increase despite the decision by many US radio stations to cut their streaming over a dispute over advertisement payments according to the latest figures releases by Measurecast.
In the week to April 29 it says its Internet Radio Index increased by 2.4% over the previous week.
In the organisation's rankings - in terms of Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) there was only one change at the top end where ESPN dropped down in ranking and audience although it is still up on the figures for two weeks ago. (Last week it had the benefit of the NFL draft).
Unsurprisingly overall more Internet-only stations were in the top 25 - 14 in the latest list compared to five for the week to April 1, before any streams were cut.
The list included as newcomers four stations from Internet-only broadcaster Cablemusic.com, a music website offering free popular music. It's Top 40, Smooth Jazz, Country, and Classical stations took 6th, 11th, 12th and 18th positions respectively.
The top five stations in the period ranked by TTSL were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets) were:
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 148,827 (146,895); CP 39,236 (41,705) - Position unchanged
2): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 63,252 (61,436); CP 9,004 (9,290) - - Position unchanged
3): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 60,650 (55,004); CP 11,064 (6,993) - Position unchanged.
4): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WK Undergroundradio TTSL 51,665 (46,954) CP 13,184 (13,150) - Previously 5th.
5): Internet only Sports Talks ESPN Radio TTSL 38,193 (51,156); CP 6,136 (7,187) -Previously 4th.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-05-02: Tod Clem, "Bubba the Love Sponge", has now entered a written plea of not guilty to animal cruelty charges laid after a wild boar killing and castration stunt in the car park of Clear Channel's WXTB-FM in Florida, at the end of February.
He is now due back in court on May 30 for a pre-trial hearing. Charged alongside Clem are the hunter who took the board to the station, Brent Hatley the station producer involved and a listener who held the boar during the incident.
The castration and killing were described by the producer on a cell phone to Clem who was in the studio and played pre-recorded pig, squeals.
Each defendant faces up to five years in jail if convicted.
2001-05-01: BBC Radio 2 was voted UK Station of the Year in the 2001 Sony Radio Academy Awards and one of its presenters, Terry Wogan, received the Academy's 2000 Award for his "outstanding success in raising the profile of UK radio over the past 12 months."
Chris Tarrant of Capital Radio received a Gold Award for career achievements.
Tim Blackmore, chairman of the Awards Committee, said," Chris Tarrant is honoured with this year's Gold Award for his 14 years as London's most popular breakfast presenter, for his mastery of the on air competition, his unique relationship with his listeners and above all as the millionaire who still chooses to wake up early to present local breakfast radio."
"We honour Terry Wogan with the 2000 Award as the man who last year added half a million new listeners to BBC Radio 2, and for taking radio to a new dimension with audience interaction through his mastery of web broadcasting."
Amongst other awards to Radio 2 were that for Station Sound, the Music Broadcaster Award for Stuart Maconie and the Specialist Music Award for presenter Mark Lamarr's 'Beginner's Guide to Reggae'.
Apart from the big names, the most spectacular success went to Jon Gaunt, presenter for BBC Three Counties Radio; he picked up three Gold Awards - for News Coverage, Breakfast News and Talk and News Broadcaster (RNW Note - see link below for UK Independent article on Gaunt). The judges commented that he was," Irreverent, well-informed and clearly respected he has an excellent understanding of what live radio is at its best."
His station also picked up the Interactive award and two other BBC local radio stations picked up awards.
BBC Radio Wales took the Speech Award for 'Girl Talk', and BBC Radio York the Community Award for 'Floodwatch News'.
Other awards to BBC stations and channels included the Gold for Speech Broadcaster which went to Peter White, the BBC's Disability Affairs Correspondent;
for Radio 1 the Music Programming Award for Mark Radcliffe's afternoon show;
for Radio 3, the Feature Award for 'Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird';
for Radio 4, the Music Special Award for 'Hymnus Paradisi'; the News Programme Award for 'On Your Farm'; the Short Form Award for 'Colloquies - Thomas Lynch', and the Comedy Award for 'Dead Ringers' as well as a special award to Derek Cooper who presents Radio 4's flagship weekly culinary programme The Food Programme;
for Radio 5 the Event Award for coverage of The Olympics and the Sports Award for Wembley Live Obituary;
and for BBC World Service the Drama Award for Alpha.
In the category for stations with up to 500,000 potential listeners Northern Ireland's BBC Radio Foyle won The Station of the Year - for the second year running.
Awards to commercial radio stations included the Breakfast Music Award to Daryl Denham in the Morning on Heart FM in Birmingham;
the Station of the Year in the category 500,000-12 million to Clyde 1;
the Competition Award to Kiss 100 for Hey Sexy;
the Music Programming Award for single programmes to EMAP's Smash Hits;
the Entertainment Award to Bits and Pieces CD by Murf Media for selected EMAP & local UK stations.
Finally in a new Station of the Year category, OneWord Radio took the digital terrestrial award, the judges commenting, "No-one is doing anything like OneWord. Its splendid spread of fiction, drama, biography, discussion, interview and heritage comedy make the station a must listen to anyone who enjoys the spoken and written word."
Previous Sony Awards:
OneWord web site:
Sony Awards web site:
UK Independent on Gaunt:
2001-05-01: US Federal Communications Commission chairman William Powell, who moved up into the post in January this year when Democrat former chairman William E Kennard resigned, has been nominated for a second term on the commission by President Bush.
Powell's current term expires at the end of June next year and the re-nomination if confirmed by Congress, would take him to June 2007.
In a statement on the nomination, Powell said he was "gratified by the confidence"
"President Bush has indicated in my tenure as Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission by the announcement that he intends to re-nominate me for a second Commission term."
2001-05-01: Cox Radio's WBTS-FM "The Beat", has awarded an Atlanta record $2006095 million prize in a competition.
The "Two Million Dollar Beat Birthday Payoff" began on March 29 and started on the basis that a DJ randomly announced a birthday month on air each day and invited listeners to phone in.
The 95th caller won $1095 and was asked if his or her birthday was on a particular date in the month.
If it did thecaller won an extra $5000 and the DJ then revealed the winning year for a $2 million prize.
This took the form of a 40-year-annuity of $50,000 a year if the caller was born that year.
In this case the winner was 29-years-old Stacy Chester who statistically stands a good chance of getting all the payments.
The Great American Insurance Group underwrote the prize insurance and payment is subject to its verification and approval.
RNW Note:The last radio prize we recall near this amount was a £1 million ( then $1.65 million) quiz show prize from Virgin Radio in the UK in December 1999 (see RNW Dec 17, 1999)
Previous Cox Radio:
2001-05-01: Dublin's two new special interest radio licences have been awarded by Ireland's Independent Radio and Television Commission to Solas AM and Star FM.
Solas, an interdenominational group which gained the Dublin city and county religious service licence, was one of four applicants; Star FM, which was awarded the special interest music licence, was one of nine applicants (See RNW Jan 28).It plans a country music format.
Previous Solas FM:
IRTC web site:
2001-05-01: Although the long-term demographics may be moving their way, Spanish language radio companies in the US aren't managing to buck the current downward trend in radio results quit yet although things should change soon.
Last week it was Spanish Broadcasting System, which was down (RNW April 28); this week it's Hispanic Broadcasting System doing rather better and reporting a very small revenue increase but decreased Broadcast Cash Flow and After-tax cash flow.
For the quarter to March 31, net revenues were up 2.7% to $47.8 million compared to Q1 2000 but BCF was down 7.8% to $15.6 million and ATCF was down 4.5% to $13.5 million; on a same station basis net revenues and BCF were each up 0.7% to $43.6 million and $16.9 million respectively.
There was a marked split in performance between the group's AM and FM stations; the former had an 8.9% fall in net revenues compared to Q1, 2000, largely put down to a format change in two news/talk stations in Los Angeles and Dallas during the quarter, but the FMs increased net revenues by 2.6%.
Hispanic is forecasting 2001 net revenue growth estimate of approximately 4.2%, and broadcast cash flow around $95.0 million.
Commenting on the results, McHenry Tichenor Jr., president and chief executive officer, said they reflected a generally weak environment including falling advertising revenues.
But, he added, he was confident continued investment in key areas was positioning Hispanic for "strong growth as the economy recovers and advertisers react to the dramatic increases in the U.S. Hispanic population and growth rate revealed by the 2000 census.''
The new Census numbers will affect Arbitron's ratings from the fall when Tichenor said Hispanic "ought to get a kick in every one of our markets."
He also told analysts that he saw an economic downturn as a time to buy desirable new signals at attractive prices.
( Last week Hispanic announced an $80 million Houston licence deal (RNW April 26).
Meanwhile SBS has now started to step up competition for Hispanic in Los Angeles where it has launched "El Sol 96.3" as it began its LMA of the former KFSG-FM.
It is buying the station for $250 million in cash from the Four Square Gospel Church (See RNW Nov 4).
On the markets, investors were discriminating between stocks rather than just by sector.
Of the Spanish-language players, Hispanic did well on Monday with a close of $23.97, up 7.54% whilst Spanish Broadcasting System ended up at $6.07, down 3.65%.
In the more general sphere, giant player Clear Channel, whose shares were hit by analysts downgradings after its results last week (RNW April 28) dropped another 2.7% to end at $55.80 but others did better notably Cox which closed up 5.3% on the day at $25.80.
Previous Clear Channel:
Previous Hispanic Broadcasting:
Links note: As far as possible we provide site links to the previous related story. Should these links not work, please advise us so we can sort out the problem. Regarding external links, we give links where we can but some newspapers and stations only keep items available for a limited period or move them to a pay-per-use archive (typically after 7 or 14 days in the USA). Thus some links become outdated or sources you would have to pay for or subscribe to access. See links page for notes regarding various sites we think of value
Back to top :
Back to top :
April 2001 June 2001
RNW May Comment -- picks up on a speech at UK Radio Authority symposium to consider what makes "high quality radio."
RNW April Comment - - follows up on March comment by considering what is necessary for regulations to be effective.
RNW March Comment -- looks at the issue of regulation.
2001-05-31:Another link for those of you with an interest in the now continuing clash between Randy Michaels, Clear Channel CEO, and US radio veteran Ron Jacobs, who had posted on his web site a "paraphrase" of a 45 minute call he received from Michaels in response to his call for action against Clear Channel (see RNW May 22).
This time it follows another call from Michaels to Jacobs, but both have made postings, Michaels in the form of an 8.6 Mb MP3 recording of the ten-minute conversation.
Michaels also sent an e-mail to Clear Channel PD's in which he describes Jacobs as "former PD and morning man Ron Jacobs" and then goes on, "Ron was once a millionaire several times over as a result of his brilliant work."
"Today, he's broke and unemployed. He sees the changes in our industry as awful and evil."
"He blames Clear Channel for much of what he sees as what's wrong with radio today."
"When I asked him what he wanted, he kept coming back to the same two themes: First, he thought that Clear Channel should give more of our profits to charity and keep less for the shareholders."
"Second, he thought we should hire him to help give a sense of "humanity" to Clear Channel. This theme was repeated several times."
Michaels says of the first call, "the conversation you may have read in the trades or on line is not the one we had.
While some of Ron's account resembles our discussion, much does not."
He then makes the point that Jacobs had not taped the call and had written from memory before going on to differ about what was relevant about the call and include a link to the MP3.
On his site, Jacobs re-iterates a challenge made during the call to Michaels to stage a public debate and also gives his version of the call, saying that Michael's "thin skin was pierced and the vitriol began to squirt out."
He later says," When he questioned that I wrote up the phone call from memory I advised him that there are some of us in radio who are actually literate. And that I have been writing for print professionally for 15 years."
RNW note: The exchange as posted by Michaels is rather querulous and Michaels comes over as rather calmer than Jacobs. Unfortunately it does not get very far in terms of a rational discussion of issues, being more a combination of mild slanging match, re-iteration of position by Jacobs and more emollient comments by Michaels.
Neither man to us would win a Pulitzer for straight reporting of the exchange.
Previous Clear Channel:
Balance Radio Broadcasting site (has Jacobs' challenge and comments):
Michaels MP3 (8.7Mb- 10 mins):
2001-05-31: The new Brisbane FM licence has gone for Aus$67 million (around US$53 million) to Brisbane FM Radio Pty Ltd, a joint venture between DMG Radio Australia and the Australian Radio Network, the two companies which had been expected to be the keenest competitors (See RNW May 28).
The amount predicted for the licence, Brisbane's first new commercial licence for two decades, had been Aus$70-80 million.
Under the Australian Broadcasting Authority's Brisbane area plan, four more new services are planned, two community stations (See RNW May 6), an open narrowcasting channel and a new commercial licence which the ABA expects to auction in early 2004.
2001-05-31: Another reminder of the dangers of reporting too honestly, this time from the Philippines where radio commentator Candelario Cayona has been shot dead outside his home.
Cayona, aged 29, had strongly criticised criminal syndicates and Muslim guerrillas and only last week said on air that he was being tailed by a hired killed and had been receiving threats by people angry about his comments.
He had reported the threats to his station, DXLL Radio Ukay, in the southern city of Zamboanga.
New York Times/AP report:.
2001-05-31: Internet listening in the week to May 27 remained unchanged, although the weekend listening was up 38%, according to the latest figures from Measurecast.
Measurecast's Internet Radio Index, which starts with a 100 base for the start of 2001, was 149.
There was comparatively little change in the top 25 which included just two newcomers, Swedish Internet-only station aliceonair.com, which was ranked 11th by total time spent listening (TTSL), and adult alternative WMVY- FM of Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, which was ranked 22.
At the top, there was a little shuffling but no new entry in the top five, which were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets):
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 165,842 (161,563); CP 43,119 (43,176) - Position unchanged but listening was higher two weeks ago.
2): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WKUndergroundradio TTSL 54,962 (61,093) CP 22,133 (21,762) - Previously 4th.
3): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 48,125 (60,228); CP 9,924 (8,232)- Previously 5th.
4): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 45,629 (72,108); CP 6,882 (9,929) - - Previously 4th.
5): Internet only Hot 100 TTSL 40,730 (61,446); CP 14,955 (21,894) - Previously 5th.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-05-31: British DJ and radio magnate Chris Evans has been fined £600 and disqualified from driving for 56 days after pleading guilty to driving at 105 miles an hour (170kph) in a 70 mph (110kph) zone in his Ferrari Maranello.
He made no comment as he left the court, saving that up for his breakfast show on Virgin FM, but his lawyer told the court he readily admitted the offence and was sorry for wasting the court's time.
2001-05-30:The Los Angeles Times, continuing its reports on "payola" type practices, says it has obtained internal documents that indicate that several independent promoters keep detailed logs, termed "banks", which tie the airing of a song to payments from the record company concerned.
Like a bank account, says the paper, the logs keeps tracks of debits and credits; a promoter makes a "deposit" when desired songs are played and "withdrawals" when a station receives "in the form of cash, travel and tickets to events."
The paper says that the documents show that "each of the five major record companies--Vivendi Universal, Sony, Bertelsmann, AOL Time Warner and EMI Group--paid fees to an independent promoter associated with a Portland, Ore., radio station that played songs produced by their labels."
"Officials for these record companies declined to be interviewed," it said.
Under US Federal Law payments in any form for playing songs on the radio without disclosing the practice to listeners is illegal and the paper says that independent promoters have "dodged the tit-for-tat rules of payola by paying broadcasters annual fees they say are not tied to airplay of specific songs."
The documents, it says," detail exactly how the process works, who is paid and how much, and how radio stations, promoters and the world's largest record companies say they keep their arrangements one step inside the law."
The Times story mentions two promoters: Michele Clark Promotions that operates mainly in the album adult alternative markets and Bill McGathy, whose New York-based promotion firm rules the rock radio format.
McGathy refused to comment but Clark denies any illegal operations and said, "We aren't doing anything wrong here.
"The support I get from labels has no effect whatsoever on the musical decisions of the program directors at my stations."
The paper says Clark earned around $50,000 in a year from songs added to the playlist at Infinity station KINK-FM in Portland, Oregon.
KINK's Programme Director, Dennis Constantine, also denied that the documents tied rewards to the playing of particular songs. "The document you have in your hand is typical of the kind of paperwork most independents use for their private bookkeeping," he said.
"I don't know how it got out. But we don't do anything illegal or unethical here."
"No matter what the companies pay [Clark] or what she writes in that bank, it has absolutely no bearing on how we program this station."
The paper says that contracts in the business specify that independent promoters are free to pitch specific songs to broadcasters, but the broadcasters are not obligated to add any song to their playlists.
All radio stations need to do in exchange for an annual fee is give promoters advance notice of which songs they plan to add to their weekly playlist.
The promoters in turn bill the labels for each song that gets added.
It adds, however, that privately some promoters brag about their power to influence playlists and quotes Peter Hart, an analyst for the New York-based media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, as saying," This document destroys the notion that the new payola is any different from the old payola."
"What you have here is a smoking gun. This document confirms suspicions that critics have long had about potential tit-for-tat arrangements between independent promoters and radio stations."
"An appropriate government investigation could blow this whole industry wide open." Federal agents already are deep in a four-year probe of corruption in the radio business but the paper says officials at the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department declined to comment on their investigations and on the bank arrangements.
It notes that five executives from Latin music labels and radio stations have pleaded guilty to payola-related tax offences. And last year, Clear Channel Communications, the nation's largest radio conglomerate, was fined for a payola violation involving a promotion that guaranteed airplay of a song by pop singer Bryan Adams in exchange for a series of free performances at concerts sponsored by its station.
Los Angeles Times report:
2001-05-30: EMAP has reported excellent UK radio results for the financial year to the end of March but warns that radio prospects are fragile.
EMAP has also replaced chief executive, Kevin Hand, who was closely associated with the group's purchase of its US properties, which have suffered a $774 million (£545 million) write-down in the year to the end of March.
Chairman Robin Miller, who was EMAP chief executive for 13 years until 1998, has taken his place and says he will serve as chief executive for two years.
Overall the group had revenues up 5% to £1,153 million, operating profits up 4% to £234m and pre-tax profit - up 5% to £197m. Earnings per share were up 4% to 56.8 pence and the company lifted its dividend by 7% to 19.5 pence per share. It described its UK radio results for the year as excellent but the outlook for radio revenues as fragile. EMAP says that its UK radio advertising revenue, which grew by 26% in the first six months of the 2000-2001 financial year compared to the previous year, slipped to a 12% growth in the second half of the year.
In particular it notes that most recent audience figures show "the resilience of the Big City Network and with major listening share gains in London across Kiss and Magic, EMAP has rightfully been re-instated as the 15-24 year old market leader in the capital."
EMAP web site:
2001-05-30: Jersey City DJ Glen Jones has broken the world record for the longest continuous radio broadcasts.
He ended his stint of 100 hours and 40 seconds at 1700 GMT on Tuesday although the record still has to be certified by Guinness World Records.
The rules for the record allowed a 15-minute break every 8 hours but limited to songs to between two and six minutes and stipulated that he had to say something every minute when a guest was on the show.
Jones played a mix of artists ranging from the Grateful Dead through the Muppets to Frank Sinatra, airing the latter's "My Way" at 14:34 GMT on Monday when he passed the previous record of 73 hours 34 minutes set by British DJ Greg Daines.
Jones, who is 39, hosts a weekly show on freeform station WFMU-FM.
WFMU web site:
2001-05-29: The UK Guardian speculates on whether the UK Wireless Group, whose flagship station is TalkSport, could become a victim of the sharp drop in advertising in the UK, which has seen two of the big players Capital Radio (See RNW May 18) and GWR (see RNW May 23) produce gloomy figures and forecasts.
A third major group, EMAP, issues its full-year results today and its radio division is also expected to have suffered even though its London stations Kiss FM and Magic have been biting into Capital's lead in the city.
The Guardian report says that
although some industry notables say TalkSport has to survive, Wireless Group chief executive Kelvin MacKenzie could end up "paying the price for gambling, over-expanding and - perhaps - paying over the odds for the string of local stations that he has since added on to Talk."
Ironically for such a figure, MacKenzie could yet be saved by government action: if the British government changes cross-ownership rules in time, the Wireless Group could well become a valuable prize in the rush to consolidate.
Until it does, says the paper, the Wireless Group could be caught between the rock of the advertising recession and the hard place of the delayed rules on concentration.
MacKenzie, it says, is weighing a number of options including going for additional credit or calling on shareholders to put in more money.
"There could be distress sales of stations, from Scot FM in Scotland to the Wave 105 in Hampshire," it says, adding," With TalkSport itself, though, he needs to play for time, to avoid selling it at a bargain price. "
The paper quotes figures UK radio leaders, David Mansfield, chief executive of Capital Radio Group and Ralph Bernard, GWR chief executive who is moving up to become executive chairman (RNW May 23) on their consolidation ideas.
It also gives a useful summary of the strength of four major players,--
* Capital -flagship - Capital FM (value circa £620 million):
* GWR - flagship - Classic FM (value circa £483 million and in which the Daily Mail & General Trust has a 29% strategic stake):
*Scottish Media Group - flagship Virgin FM (value circa £173 million) and
*The Wireless Group - flagship TalkSport (value circa £118 million)
Previous Capital Radio:
Previous Wireless Group:
UK Guardian report:
2001-05-29: Australian radio stations are currently evaluating a new portable audience-metering device developed by the Swiss Broadcasting Company (RNW Sept 5, 2000), which is being demonstrated by the AC Nielsen audience measurement company.
The watch keeps a record of all broadcasts that its wearer hears and it its built in computer identifies which station the signal emanated from.
The watches are then collected from wearers and the data loaded into a central computer that calculates ratings.
The watches cost around US$600 each and can also record details of a wearer's movements or body temperature to indicate where they may be and whether they are likely to be sleeping.
Future versions will also incorporate a voice recording option so that wearers can also say what they are reading or doing whilst listening to radio or watching TV.
The device is similar in function to Arbitron's Portable People Meter, which has been tested in the UK and is currently under trial in the US (See RNW Jan 1).
Previous Portable People Meter:
Previous Swiss audience meter:
2001-05-29: The full US Senate has now approved the new members of the US Federal Communications Commission.
Republican Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy will serve until 2-5, fellow-Republican Kevin Martin has a full five-year term until 2006 and Democrat Michael Copps will serve until 2004.
Chairman Michael Powell has had his term extended until 2007.
Rate for the job is $125,700 a year for Commissioners and $8000 a year more for the chairman.
Previous Abernathy/Copps/Martin: Previous FCC:
2001-05-28: In our dip into print articles about radio over the past week, we look at radio of the future, the present, and the past and take a look and a "The Rest of the Story"
The future first, courtesy of a Gerry McCarthy column in the UK Sunday Times and The Thomas Davis Lecture given by Helen Shaw, director of radio at Irish state broadcaster RTÉ.
McCarthy starts with the ease of extrapolating current trends and the difficulty in spotting "unforeseen effects caused by unexpected interconnections."
He goes on to say that, despite Shaw's opening fantasy of beaming back perceptions of Africa to a Dublin studio from a skull micro-transmitter Shaw's "predictions lacked substance."
Shaw, he writes, "spoke convincingly of digital radio and its upcoming "roll-out". She told us that digital radio was inevitable and would result in better sound and an end to fiddling with dials."
"It will even provide pictures, she said, yet will not degenerate into a form of audio television."
"She rhapsodised about radio's supposedly unique sense of community and its ability to rally its listeners."
"And she told an anecdote that singularly failed to appreciate the real strength of the medium."
That anecdote concerned the freeing of a man who was hijacked and bundled into his car boot, only to be freed as a result of a mobile phone call to his wife; she called a local radio station whose listeners called in with reports on the vehicles progress.
The key technology, concludes McCarthy, was not radio but the telephony, which first revolutionised radio practice through the phone-in from, fixed locations and is now changing practice again through mobile phone technology.
On mobiles, he comments, "The dissociation they permit between communication and location has been vital, injecting a new energy into the medium. There will be more changes, and more unimagined effects, before the wave dies away."
To the present, but with links to the past; a Toronto Globe and Mail column by Rupert Everett-Green, takes up the issue of classical music and its fit into radio today-- or rather the fact that "Much of the core classical repertoire no longer fits on radio."
"Symphonies are truncated, sonatas curtailed. Full-length works by Mahler or Bruckner are seldom heard, even on CBC Radio Two."
"The short form rules on classical radio, almost as much as on pop."
Everett-Green quotes Janet Lea, head of radio music for the CBC, as saying that the Corporation's Radio 2 hasn't given up on long pieces but has learned not to play them when people are driving to and from work.
Ironically, he adds, just as radio was "was facing up to its role in a messy system of real-world interactions", the concert and classical music recording world were moving in the other direction, towards a "purer, more rigorous experience of the music."
But lest it be thought he's hankering for a past which never was, Everett-Green goes on to point that " Concerts a century and more ago were often impure events, with light divertissements and popular songs jumbled in between works of high art."
"Cuts to lengthy works by Wagner and others were common, and sometimes even proposed by the composers themselves."
He adds, "There's also plenty of evidence that concert audiences in former times could be no more attentive than radio listeners today" citing a painting of a concert which shows in the foreground card-players, a man taking coffee, and another petting his dog.
Staying in the past, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and a report by Jon Anderson on a two-hour show, takes us to a two-hour show "The Early Days of Radio", staged at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.
It's not particularly remarkable but it does make the point that in those days when there were no mobiles and phones were scarce, radio was certainly not just parochial.
Chicago was then "one of the major radio centres of the world, beaming out children's shows, soap opera, radio theatre and documentaries," and all from live microphones with live special effects.
Finally the "Rest of the Story" which is a reference to the four-minute Paul Harvey items which have now been running for 25 years.
Boston Globe correspondent Clea Simon notes that 82-year old Paul Harvey may deliver them but the items are scripted by his son Paul Harvey Jr., a tender 53 years of age.
Harvey Jr. says that what he is seeking ", is some unexpected fact or unknown inspiration in the life of a well-known character" which can show the figure in a new light.
''Most of the stuff with legs,'' says Harvey Jr., ''is driven by personality rather than fame."
"There's no formula. In a sense, these are historical mysteries."
Previous Paul Harvey:
Boston Globe - Simon:
Chicago Tribune - Anderson:
Toronto Globe and Mail - Everett-Green:
UK Sunday Times -McCarthy:
2001-05-28: Reporting on the auction of the new Brisbane commercial FM licence (See RNW May 17), the Sydney Morning Herald says that although five names are in the bidding, the auction is likely to end as a two-horse race with British-owned DMG likely to outbid APN News & Media's Australian Radio Network.
The paper says that bids as high as Aus$120 million have been suggested but the licence is likely to fetch more like Aus$80 million; this compares with a record Aus$155 million which DMG paid for its Sydney licence in May last year (RNW May 25, 2000) and the Aus$70 million it paid for the Brisbane licence in December last year (RNW Dec 12,2000).
APN already has two AM stations in Brisbane and the paper says that were it to win the FM licence, it would upgrade one of these to FM.
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2001-05-27: A very quiet week for the regulators this week with three more community licences for Sydney in Australia leading the file. The Australian Broadcasting Authority awarded the licences to youth and arts station Free Broadcast Incorporated (FBi), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community station Gadigal Information Service (Gadigal)and Sydney's first permanent Muslim radio service,Muslim Community Radio (MCR).
14 applicants did not succeed and the ABA said of these applicants, 11 failed to demonstrate either a clear community interest or the capacity to provide it.
Three other applicants did succeed on these criteria but did not make cases as compelling as the successful applicants.
These three were OutFM Pty Ltd (OutFM) and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Broadcasters Incorporated (FREE FM), both targeting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and Sydney Youth Radio Inc (WILD FM), targeting the mainstream youth (14-30) community and young people who identify with the dance/club culture.
The ABA, which will award the licences on June 1, said the three chosen were the applicants most likely to continue to meet the future needs of their communities.
ABA Chairman, Professor David Flint, commented " Sydney has Australia's largest population of young people and the country's largest indigenous and Muslim populations."
"The successful applicants are all strongly based in the communities they propose to serve and the ABA anticipates these new services will have an invigorating effect on those communities."
The ABA has also published its annual budget (75 kb PDF) and a survey into Internet use in Australia (46kb PDF).
This last shows that Australian adults use the Internet more than children and also shows use details -most used are E-mail and sites related to individuals interests (some 80% in all); radio is listened to quite often or occasionally by some 2.5% and 18% respectively, sexual content less if respondents are telling the truth although some said they used it often.
In Canada and Ireland there was nothing of real note.
In the UK the Radio Authority advertised the local digital multiplex licence for Bradford and Huddersfield.
It also published its Restricted Service Licence (RSL) Annual Report for 2000 giving details of licences available and issued.
In all the Authority issued 464 short-term RLS which are designed for use for a maximum 28 days and are used for trials or specific events and long-term RSL's, of which nearly 90 were in use at the end of 2000 for stations serving such establishments as a hospital or university.
In the US, there were no major radio issues with attention being centred on the nomination of new Commissioners for the FCC (RNW May 26).
Previous Licence News:
Previous UK Radio Authority:
ABA web site:
FCC web site:
UK Radio Authority web site:
2001-05-27: Although a number of US broadcasters are now using streaming to get round the Internet advertisement dispute, which involves extra charges when commercials made for radio, are in streamed signals, one California station is doing the replacement adverts with its individual style.
KPIG-FM, Monterey, is using fake commercials somewhat similar to their comedy-style adverts for local businesses.
On offer are "leftovers first" from the Secondhand Food shop, "Melinda'S Body Stapling" service and the firms of lawyers and tailors, "Swindle and Fibre" who offer a "lawsuit with two pair of pants."
2001-05-26: Clear Channel's Radio President and Chief Operating Officer Kenneth J. (Kenny) O'Keefe is to retire from the company at the end of June.
No successor has been named and Clear Channel Radio Chief Executive Officer Randy Michaels is to take on his duties on an interim basis. O'Keefe, Chief Operating Officer for AMFM when it was taken over by Clear Channel last year (See RNW Aug 31, 2000), was in charge of integrating the radio operations of the two companies.
Previous Clear Channel:
Clear Channel web site (links to announcement):
2001-05-26: The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has now approved by a 17-0 vote the nomination of Michael Powell as chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission and of three new commissioners, Kathleen Abernathy, Michael Copps and Kevin Martin. The sub-committee vote was delayed because of Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords' defection from the Republicans. (See RNW May 25.
The nominations will now go before the full Senate.
Previous Abernathy/Copps/Martin: Previous FCC:
2001-05-26: Hopes that Russian radio station Radio Echo will be able to remain independent are rising according to an AP report in the New York Times.
It says that the station, part of the Media-Most empire formerly owned by Vladimir Gusinsky, has tentative agreements which would give a consortium founded by its journalists a controlling stake in the station.
Echo, which has an estimated audience of 4 million, was perceived as under threat when natural-gas giant Gazprom took over most of the Media-Most empire but this month the journalists launched a $4 million bid to take control (See RNW May 11)
According to the AP report, Echo's chief editor Alexei Venediktov and its director Yuri Fedutinov, who are handling negotiations, Gusinsky has agreed to sell his 14.5% share and Gazprom is ready to sell another 9% to the journalists who already 28% of the shares, thus giving them control.
Previous Radio Echo:
AP/New York Times report:
2001-05-25: An unintended consequence of Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords decision to leave the Republicans and become an Independent has been to delay confirmation hearings for the extension of Michael Powell's term as Federal Communications Commission chairman and the nominations of three new commissioners (see RNW May 24.
The session of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that was to have considered the nominations, scheduled for the same time as Jeffords' announcement of his defection, was cancelled.
As a result of Jeffords' move, chairmanship of the committee will go to a Democrat; it is currently held by Senator John McCain, Republican Senator for Arizona.
2001-05-25: Chicago comedy-talk station WCKG-FM evening host Pete McMurray is likely to switch to classic rock WLUP-FM as morning host according to Robert Feder in his Chicago Sun-Times column.
Feder says nothing is official but McMurray, who recently agreed a short-term renewal with Viacom-CBS-Infinity-owned WCKG, has been hinting for months that he might move.
He was reported to have asked this week for a release to accept WLUP's offer.
McMurray was a music jock in Rockford, Illinois, for six years before moving to Chicago in 1998.
Sun-Times Feder column:
2001-05-25: According to Bloomberg, Liberty Media has filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission to sell almost three quarters of its shares in Emmis.
Liberty holds 5.4 million Emmis Class A share and wants to sell 3.99 million of them; current market price is around $130 million.
Liberty, which paid $150 million for 2.7 million shares in October 1999 (now 5.4 million following a two for One stock split four months later), is the second largest holder of Emmis shares, the largest being Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan.
2001-05-24: Supporting President Bush's planned 2002 budget for the US Federal Communications Commission which calls for an increase of $18.5 million to $248.5 million (RNW April 12), Commission chairman Michael K. Powell, has said that the budget reflects "the Commission's mission to keep abreast of industry changes and set rational productivity and regulatory goals."
Appearing before an appropriations sub-committee, he said that each industry regulated by the FCC was "is in the midst of revolution, and is attempting to Adapt to fundamental economic and technological changes."
Nearly 40% of the increase is tied to government-wide pay increases and most of the rest is for upgrading of the FCC's Information Technology.
Speaking of the FCC's plans he outlined a philosophy of reducing regulation to a minimum but instituting strong and effective enforcement of "truly necessary" regulations.
Powell also spoke of problems of attracting and retaining suitable skilled staff, noting that the FCC's engineering staff has fallen by more than a fifth over the past six years and that over the next four years two fifths of existing engineering staff would be eligible for retirement.
He also noted that the commission had problem competing for staff against private industry.
Still with the FCC and the Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote today on the extension of Powell's term as chairman and the nominations as FCC commissioners of Kathleen Abernathy, Michael Copps and Kevin Martin.
The nominations will then be sent to the Senate for a full vote.
Of the departing commissioners, Harold Furchtgott-Roth has announced that he is to join the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) as a visiting fellow.
In addition, outgoing Democrat Commissioner Gloria Tristani, who has not said yet when she will step down, has confirmed that she is to mount a bid to win New Mexico's Democratic primary.
She would then stand against the current Republican Senator for New Mexico, Pete Domenici, in 2002.
2001-05-24: Forever Broadcasting, which owns four UK radio stations including Wolf Fm, Wolverhampton, which it bought in February for around £5 million (RNW February 10), made an operating loss of just over a million pounds on turnover of £700,000 in the six months to March 31.
Its chairman, John Josephs, said the group was continuing to look for suitable acquisitions and is preparing applications for a number of new analogue licences including those for the East Midlands, Chester, Reading and Worthing.
It has already bid for the new south and west Yorkshire regional licence for which there have been 16 applicants.
Previous Forever Broadcasting:
2001-05-24: Arbitron's latest webcast ratings continue to show a completely different picture of the streaming audience to that of Measurecast.
They are for February, before the dispute over extra costs of streaming advertisements which led most US broadcasters to end streaming their on-air signals.
In the top five there were two newcomers in the top five; out went Virgin Radio down to number six and MediaAmazing; this had been third in January but was not in February's ratings.
In Arbitron's ratings, taken from server information from some 2300 stations and channels, Classical Music ranked first and fourth with WABC AM news-talk second and Net Radio's 8 hits fourth.
By comparison, the Measurecast latest ratings (See RNW May 23), which formerly had news stations in the top rankings, are now dominated by pop and rock with one classical station managing number 10 ranking.
Seven of Arbitron's top ten were Internet-only channels.
A newcomer to the Arbitron ratings, RadioWave, which has since cut its staff by nearly a third, made it into the top ten with its contemporary channel HitsHappen at number 8.
Arbitron's top five for February, ranked by Aggregate Tuning Hours (the total listening to a channel) were:
1:Classical music Beethoven.com ATH 741,500 (Previously 1st with ATH 727,400):
2: News Talk Information format WABC-AM, New York, ATH 310,900 (Previously 2nd with ATH 310,700):
3: Contemporary hits NetRadio - 80s Hits* ATH 292,900 (Previously 10th with ATH 178,200
4: Classical format KING-FM (Seattle) ATH 287,800 (Previously 4th with ATH 239,100)
5: Album oriented rock 5 KNAC.com Pure Rock ATH 235,900 (Previously 6th with ATH 226,400).
RNW Note: A rough calculation to produce AQH -average quarter hour -- figures gives the top ranked station about 275 listeners.
Previous Arbitron webcast ratings:
2001-05-23: UK radio group GWR has announced that Ralph Bernard, Chief Executive for 18 years, is to become Executive Chairman.
He will hand over the Chief Executive role to his deputy and current GWR Finance Director Patrick Taylor; current chairman Henry Meakin, who has been in the post for 14 years, will step down at the company's AGM in July.
The news was announced as the company issued upbeat preliminary results for the year to the end of March but admitted that the advertising slump was continuing and that it faced a weak summer period.
Advertising revenues for the group fell by 9% in April and May and Taylor said they did not see any signs of a recovery in the period up to September.
For the year, GWR showed an increase in turnover of 24.4% over the 1999-2000 year to £127 million.
Operating profit before goodwill and exceptional items was up 18.7% to £26.3 million; for the group's analogue radio core the increase was up a third to £33.1 million.
Pre-tax profit before goodwill and exceptional items of £8.5 million, largely linked to new media investment, was up 8.1% to £20.7 million.
Within the radio figures, Classic FM, which now has a 54% share of national commercial radio listeners, had a total turnover was £33.5 million, an increase of 22%, while its EBITDA earnings increased by 38% and margins before Group overheads rose by 13% to 41%.
In comparison, turnover of GWR's local radio stations increased by 16%, 6% on a like for like basis.
During the year, GWR expanded significantly through acquisitions of the Marcher Radio Group and DMG Radio which has successfully bid for the new Sydney and Melbourne licences in Australia.
The new Sydney station, Nova FM, is now on air.
However Bernard issued a caution over consolidation in the UK because of the effect of the drop in advertising revenues which he said meant that companies were unlikely to be devoting time and money to acquisitions when companies' values were uncertain.
He said consolidation in the industry could involve smaller stations, with the larger players making their moves up to two three years later.
Previous Marcher Group:
GWR web site:
2001-05-23: Internet radio listening rebounded by more than 14% in the week to May 20 according to Oregon-based Measurecast, which the previous week had recorded a 6% fall.
Measurecast's Internet Radio Index, which takes the start of this year as a base 100, is now at 149. Measure cast says that 20 of the broadcasters in its top 25 saw an increase in total time spent listening (TTSL) for the week and 60% also saw an increase in their estimated audience or CP - Cumulative Persons.
Top ranked MediaAmazing saw its audience and listening drop but below it there were increases for second placed Virgin and particularly for chart-based Hot 100, which almost doubled its listening and audience.
For the week to May 20, Measurecast's top five stations in the period ranked by TTSL were (with previous week's Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL) and Cume persons (CP), a measure of the cumulative audience, in brackets) were:
1): Listener Formatted MediaAmazing TTSL 161,563 (170,345); CP 43,176 (52,106) - Position unchanged.
2): Adult Alternative Virgin Radio TTSL 72,108 (61,671); CP 9,929 (9,371) - - Position unchanged.
3): Internet only Hot 100 TTSL 61,446 (31135); CP 21,894 (13021) - Previously 5th.
4): Internet only Alternative Rock 3WKUndergroundradio TTSL 61,093 (51669) CP 21,762 (15857) - Previously 3rd.
5): Internet only Classic Rock Radio Margaritaville TTSL 60,228 (48,991); CP 8,232 (7,496)- Previously 4th.
Previous MeasureCast ratings:
MeasureCast web site:
2001-05-23: Changes in technology and alliances are now significantly affecting international broadcasting with the BBC World Service due to drop its short wave broadcasts to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. at the end of June although it will still be available through re-broadcasts and the Internet.
The Corporation says it is making the switch, which will save it some £500,000 a year, because of a change in habits of its listeners.
Although most of its 153 million weekly audience listen via short wave, in the United States 2.5 million people listen to rebroadcasts on FM and 1.5 million listen online, compared to only one million on short wave.
In contrast, Radio Australia, the international arm of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, recently recommenced short wave broadcasts to China.
It is now adding local rebroadcasts through AM and FM stations under an agreement due to be signed on Monday by China's Minister for Mass Communications in Guangdong Province, Zhong Yangsheng.
Under the agreement leading Chinese satellite broadcaster Radio Guangdong will relay two hours a week of Radio Australia's Chinese language programmes throughout southern China.
The BBC move does not signify an end to its use of short wave but the emphasis has changed, to a considerable degree because the Internet is cheaper than short wave.
Other organizations have also cut back on short wave including the Voice of America, which has already cut back short wave transmissions in some areas (see RNW April 2) and ended them to central Europe.
Swiss Radio International, has cut four fifths of its short wave output in favour of the Internet.
The decision to move in this direction is not universal, partly because many broadcasters like Radio Australia recognise the difficulties and costs to listeners in many countries of Internet listening.
For these places the cost of computer equipment and phone charges made the Internet option one only available to a few rich people.
Radio Netherlands takes the same view, as does Germany's Deutsche Welle Radio.
Previous ABC, Australia:
Previous Radio Australia:
Previous Voice of America:
BBC World Service:
Voice of America
2001-05-23: Andrew Howard who with partner Karel Boley hosted the "Karel and Andrew" on KFI-AM in Los Angeles, has died unexpectedly aged 34 of a pulmonary embolism.
The duo became the first openly gay couple to host a radio show in the US and their show had been on air for two years.
It began in the 3-to-7 p.m. weekday drive-time slot but then was moved to 7-to-10 p.m..
Last month the show was removed from the station's line-up, although the station said it was in the process of finding a new slot for the pair.
Los Angeles Times report:
2001-05-22: A link as much as a story today for anyone who wants an insight into the thinking of Clear Channel Communications CEO, Randy Michaels; it goes to a site run by veteran US radio programme and host Ron Jacobs and gives details of much of a 45 minute phone conversation with Michaels.
Among topics dealt with are a follow-up from Jacobs to the recent Salon article, which hit hard at Clear Channel's practices and Michaels in particular and the article itself (See RNW May 7).
The sense is of Michaels' needing to put his side of the story and trying hard to defend the consolidation of the US radio industry but having a hard time dealing with some points.
The context is set early on with Jacobs saying that Clear Channel is the biggest operator.
Then, in response to a Michaels' comment that he "loves radio" he says," I think I've been loving radio a bit longer than you."
"And I think I have a definition of what makes a good station. Seems from what I've heard -- and this is from a LOT of people in the past week -- is that you guys care more about the bottom line than anything else. Right?"
The response from Michaels is," Sure. I gotta show my Board of Directors a profit every quarter."
"Isn't that the most important thing? Radio still is a business. I've learned that since I was just a programmer or a jock."
The whole runs through a range of issues and reminiscences about radio's responsibilities as well as its business and is well worth a read.
Balance Radio Broadcasting site:
Balance Radio Broadcasting -Jacob's article:
2001-05-22: Satellite radio stocks in the US have had a mixed follow up to the ground lost at the end of last week when a Wall Street Journal article raised doubts about their business future.
It opened "Satellite-radio companies are finding it easier to launch satellites into space than to get their businesses off the ground" and went on to detail the problems the companies have and the challenges they face.
In particular it said that General Motors plans to put XM's service only in the Cadillac Seville and DeVille this year; of Sirius' allies Ford says it will probably only be an option on one or two cars next year and Daimler Chrysler plans to pre-wire cars for dealers to install receivers later rather than build them into factory models.
On Friday Sirius stock dropped 16% to $15:45 and XM fell 7% to 15:30; at the close Monday, Sirius was still down at $15:09 having lost 2.33% over the day but XM had rebounded upwards 9/48% to end at $16:75.
2001-05-22: The lawsuit by DMG against Austereo over a series of letters, which DMG said was a deliberate attempt to denigrate it, is now to go to a full trial in September.
A Federal Court holding a mini-trial about the issue was told that Austereo executive chairman Peter Harvie, who denies any connection with the pseudonymous letter writing campaign, had approved the monthly invoices of public relations consultant Ken Davis who has now admitted to writing the letters.
DMG is claiming damages from Harvie, Austereo, Australia's largest public relations firm Turnbull Porter Novelli (TPN) and Davis, who was working for them at the time.
Reporting on the trial, the Sydney Morning Herald, quoted counsel for Harvie and Austereo as saying that the letter writing "was not done with his knowledge or his consent. No one at Austereo had anything to do with writing letters under false names."
DMG's counsel described the letter campaign was a deliberate attempt to denigrate his client and called Davis's explanation that he had written the letters in a private capacity in conjunction with a Brad Peterson, who cannot be traced, as a "falsity.
He said the intent of the letters, written over three years, was "wholly consistent with Austereo's objectives."
Harvie under cross-examination admitted that DMG's entry into the Australian radio business had been a concern and that he had commissioned Davis in 1998 to run a campaign to encourage community radio stations to lobby for more licences so there would be less frequencies available for commercial ones.
Sydney Morning Herald report:
2001-05-22:UK TalkSport has kept one record at least in the first quarter of this year, that of being the station about which most complaints were made to the UK Radio Authority.
Figures given by the Authority in its quarterly bulletin to the end of March, show that the number of complaints about radio in the quarter was 69,well down from the 117 in the first quarter last year to 69 this year; those about radio advertisements were down to 49 from 64.
Of the complaints this year 16 were upheld; 9 concerned accuracy, only one of which was upheld; six concerned balance, bias or fairness but none of these were upheld; 40 concerned taste or decency of which 13 were upheld, five related to format or promise of performance, none of which were upheld, and nine were on other matters, one of which was upheld.
TalkSport this year attracted 10 of the total complaints, six of which were totally or partially upheld (out of an overall total of 16 upheld), one of which was resolved and three of which were rejected.
RNW note:Of the 117 complaints in the first quarter of 2000, 66 concerned one TalkSport item that was the subject of a newspaper campaign over a perceived insult to the Welsh.
Concerning the complaints that were upheld, TalkSport featured prominently this year, even if not accounting for the majority of the complaints total as it did in the first quarter of 2000.
It also escaped censure about another item concerning the Welsh in which the presenter who made a response about the Welsh not being amusing in response to a caller with a Welsh accent who had not heeded advice to be succinct and amusing.
The station was, however, rapped over the knuckles for a programme in which the presenter said that Liverpudlians were "all scumbags."
TalkSport was also criticised over the use of bad language on a programme in January when caller was allowed to use the word 'cunt' and the words 'wanker' and 'bastard' were used both by callers and by the presenter.
TalkSport station blamed part of the problem on a malfunction of the station's "delay system."
In a similar vein, a complaint was upheld against Forth FM for broadcasting a music track including the line "Respect the cock and tame the cunt."
Other complaints upheld included:
*one about a Reading station which the Authority said should not have aired at school run time an item about faithfulness in relationships including comments from a caller who indulged in wife-swapping.
*One about a Vibe FM hoax that convinced listeners that an employee taking part in a prank had actually been arrested by police and imprisoned.
*One against Clyde FM when the presenter had named on air a teacher whose pupil had phoned in and termed her "the weakest link", thus holding her up to unwelcome teasing.
*One against CFM, Carlisle where a presenter said that "Five thousand Pakistanis were seen heading for the entrance" of the Sands Centre in Carlisle because of the erection of a road sign labeled 'Evacuees' in its vicinity."
Of the advertising complaints, six were about adverts alleged to be harmful but none of these were upheld, 20 about misleading adverts, 3 of which were upheld, 21 of adverts felt to be offensive of which one was upheld and two on other matters, one of which was upheld.
And another indecency fine in the US where the Federal Communications Commission proposes to fine non-commercial station KBOO-FM, Portland, Oregon $7000 for broadcasting the rap song "Your Revolution."
The FCC says the lyrics contain "unmistakable patently offensive sexual references."
KBOO, which has 30 days to appeal, says the song is a feminist attack "on attempts to equate political revolution with promiscuous sex."
In this context it says the opening words, "Your revolution will not happen between these thighs" are not indecent.
Previous UK Radio Authority Bulletin:
UK Radio Authority Bulletin:
2001-05-21:The mini-trial over allegations that Austereo was responsible for letters under false names being sent to politicians, newspapers and community radio stations in an attempt to damage rival DMG group starts in Sydney today.
Austereo and its executive chairman Peter Harvie deny knowledge of, or involvement in the letters, which were written under the names Peter Johnston, Peter Townsend and John Chapman between 1997 and 2000.
They were sent by public relations consultant Ken Davis, who originally denied authorship but then admitted that he wrote the letters.
He said he did so in a private capacity not for his then-employer, the firm of Turnbull Porter Novelli, whose clients included Austereo. (See RNW April 27).
Davis says he wrote the letters because of a concern about the loss of local emphasis in radio and his then employer says he acted both outside the remit of his employment and in breach of ethical codes.
DMG is taking action for damages and an apology.
Austereo and DMG are bitter competitors with the latter having spent more than Aus$200 million on new radio licences in Australia in the past year.
The conflict is heightened by personal rivalry between Harvie and DMG's chief executive, Paul Thompson who a decade ago headed Austereo.
Harvie came into radio from advertising in 1993 when Village Roadshow, owner of the Triple M network appointed him as its managing director.
Subsequently Austereo agreed a merger with triple-M and Harvie became chief executive, much to Thompson's dismay.
2001-05-21: A look via the columns this week at some audiences, demographics and programming -and what makes a radio station attractive and worthwhile.
And first in this light a question posed in the UK Independent in an article by Louise Jury.
"Which radio station registered a 104 per cent increase in its youth market last year? The correct answer was UK Classic FM, which now has some 400, 000 listeners under 15 -- a 6% share of its audience-- according the latest UK audience figures.
The paper notes that by comparison, young people account for 5 per cent of the BBC Radio 4 (speech and drama) audience, and for 4 per cent of BBC Radio 3 (classical music) audience.
Roger Lewis, the station's managing director and programme controller, says that Classic FM has been going out of its way to encourage young listeners, whom he describes as "our future audience."
"We believe that a classical music radio experience can be as relevant to a younger audience as it is to an older audience," he adds.
Amongst the tactics used to attract that younger audience the station has such features as the School Run, when parents and children can make requests.
Children are also encouraged to submit fantasy concert requests for broadcast and a series of classic tales including star names narrating Romeo and Juliet and reading Hansel and Gretel increased Classic's Sunday evening children's listening by 40%.
The station also thinks the use of symphonic music in films such as Titanic has made it easier to attract a young audience.
Next programming that one columnist at least thinks does not meet up to what the UK regulator would call "promise of performance."
In an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail entitled "That's not news, that's entertainment", Michael Posner comments on the output of Toronto CFTR-AM which bills itself as an "all-news" station.
Posner writes, "The same format is available in major urban centres across the continent and my critique of CFTR might apply equally well in other locales."
He continues, "In most categories, the station manages to deliver the goods, and its team of reporters and announcers is more competent."
"But overall, the all-news approach is weakest in exactly the area where it should be strongest -- hard news."
"In fact, what CFTR is really offering is entertainment thinly disguised as news, little scraps and fragments, headlines stripped of context and designed mainly to please."
Posner then comments on the musical intros and exits to news items, citing a number of examples.
One, which caught our eye as the kind of simplistic, banal, audio cliché that is now commonplace on both radio and television as a means of theoretically brightening up an item, is the use of Money (Makes the World Go Round) from Cabaret to accompany various financial items.
Similarly entertainment reports -- "essentially advertisements" -are accompanied by sound tracks.
The content of the news is also reviewed scathingly; one paragraph describes it as "defined as rock stars booked to play the city's Molson Amphitheatre this summer -- essentially, a press release."
"News that occurs outside Greater Toronto is largely irrelevant, and foreign news is largely non-existent unless a suicide bomber incinerates himself in Israel; then, CFTR will play portions of CNN reporter Jay Bushinsky's taped account."
"Foreign coups, floods, elections, and corruption -- all of this gets barely a mention. You could listen for weeks without hearing the names of most of the world's countries, unless a Canadian happens to die in a plane crash somewhere."
It all sounds terrifyingly familiar, as are the comments on the use of teasers.
Posner concludes that, "Compared to any CBC Radio newscast, 680 is a kindergarten exercise."
He continues, "In fact, CFTR and its various clones are the working models for the commodification of news. News packaged and dressed to amuse."
"News void of meaning. News that is simply noise. News that fills the air, but signifies nothing."
RNW comment: Which is as good a reason as any for a licence fee to provide some alternatives on the airwaves and maybe even fund such worthy efforts as CBC's biennial "Radio National Competition for Young Performers" which this year was held in Montreal last Thursday evening and won by a 23-year-old pianist 19-year-old cellist.
(For UK comments by UK Sunday Times radio columnist Paul Donovan on the BBC dropping a similar competition see Columnists May 7 ).
After which to end on Donovan himself, and, in this case, a welcome contrast of praise for a channel,BBC Radio 3, which may have, low ratings but still has tremendous value. Looking at its output on Sunday he notes that, "Ancient Greece is given more than six hours ……. in an epic piece of broadcasting ranging from snapshots of Athens to Medea's murder of her two children. Then comes a repeat of a wonderful programme celebrating the song of the blackbird, which has quite rightly won a gold Sony award."
He then notes a wide range of other things to follow and comments, "Radio 3, which used to be celebrated for its height of brow, is now noted for breadth of interest."
"This ambitious realignment is curious in two respects."
"First, it has generated no controversy, apart from some grumbling about the amount of jazz now found on the station."
"Second, it has not affected the size of Radio 3's audience - which, at 1.9m, remains tiny, and is, in fact, less than it was a year ago (2.1m), and less than it was two years ago (2.3m), though it gives me no pleasure to say that." Donovan says there has been no fuss about the changes at Radio 3 and contrasts that with comments about other channels but points out that this was not always the case.
After noting past conflict over those who wanted Radio 3 rarefied and those who wanted it more popular he says the opponents seem to have laid down their arms.
"It is not clear why this is, but the most likely explanation is that lovers of motets no longer object in principle to hearing the music of Mali on their station, and that those who need Bach and Beet- hoven are now prepared to share the airtime with the West Coast jazz rocker Pat Metheny, with plainchant, throat singing, Mice Parade, jump jive and Frank Zappa."
"There has been a cultural change. Barricades have been dismantled, dividing lines have faded."
Donovan suggests that the station has a diffuse appeal unlike the sharp focus of Classic FM and possible reception weaknesses and little marketing may explain why the audience is becalmed.
"Figures go up and down. Radio 3 should not become distracted by them."
"It is a great station, and no less great because fewer people listen to it in the entire country than to Capital FM in London."
Previous Classic FM:
Toronto Globe and Mail- Posner :
UK Independent -Jury:
UK Sunday Times -Donovan:
|Next columnBack to top||Previous month|
|Site audio files||Radio Stations||Other links||Story Archives||Comment Index||
Radionewsweb.com, 38 Creswick Road, Acton, London W3 9HF, UK: